Google's Firefox referral program now also available outside the US

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Google enabled Explorer Destroyer. Only drawback: by then it was unfortunately just available for Adsense partners in the US. But guess what - good news: yesterday I received an email from Google announcing the Firefox referral program for other countries - including Germany... Btw, to give it a try, I also installed the Explorer Destroyer Script. But I am not sure if it works, because I have no MSIE anywhere near my Powerbook. So, if you visit this page with MSIE and see the "gentle encouragement" on the top, please let me know and leave a comment... Thanks !
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How efficient can Blog-Advertising be ?

Just finished listening to the latest Across the Sound podcast from Steve Rubel and Joseph Jaffe. Among other interesting things, they talked about an intriguing stat from a recent Audi campaign. Joseph blogged about it back in October, but I overlooked it some how then:
On Wednesday at OMMA East, GMD Studios CEO Brian Clark, whose agency does work for Audi, said, on a panel, that 29% of traffic to a site created as part of a recent Audi A3 campaign was generated by advertising on the BlogAds network. The kicker is that 29% was achieved with just one half of one percent of the overall media budget. To drive the point home even further, McKinney + Silver, on its A3 timeline site states, "The media cost for the entire blog ad buy was less than the cost for one banner ad on a mainstream site such as Yahoo!"
Blogvertising got Audi 29% of traffic for this campaign with just one half of one percent of the overall media budget ! Any questions left ?
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Patagonia explores Internet chat rooms as Marketing Vehicle

An article on Internet Retailer shows how Patagonia is successfully using Internet chat forums to communicate directly with their customers (via Marketing Wonk):
Patagonia`s product experts have been participating in Internet chat rooms frequented by outdoor sports enthusiasts, where Patagonia not only learns directly about consumers` interests but also is able to display its expertise and share information about how Patagonia is developing products. "It`s pretty powerful, because any dialogue online develops as word-of-mouth marketing," says Wilson, who compares chat room participation to meeting consumers at outdoor-gear shows. "It’s good public relations and marketing, and people seem to enjoy when we enter into a dialogue." (...)
Spamming chat rooms or instant messaging systems with undifferentiated marketing messages is certainly not a very good idea. But if they are used the right way, these channels can be great to communicate with the market - especially to establish a dialogue with customers... Btw, does anyone know a company which is using instant messaging for their customer hotline ?
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The Mystery of Dalarö - Brilliant Online Branding Site from Volvo

To promote their all new S40, Volvo has launched a nice microsite about the "Mystery of Dalarö" (via iChat from Heiko).volvo-mysteryReally a great concept and a wonderful realisation ! Although the campaign is aimed only at the UK market, sites like Blogdex or Popdex clearly show that people all over the world are enjoying it. Once again: global reach without paying extra - courtesy of the Internet and viral marketing... ;-) Btw, Volvo Germany also has a S40 microsite, which is nice, too - but not nearly as good as the British... Update@23Mar2004: Additional Background Information available
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Sony integrates Weblogs into the Online Campaign for Spiderman 2

Although the movie Spiderman 2 won't be released until next summer, Sony Pictures is already trying to create some buzz about it. For example, just this week a teaser trailer was made available on Yahoo. They also have a very comprehensive website online. There Sony is trying two different approaches to use weblogs for promoting the movie (via pointblog.com and Martin Roell): First there is a group weblog, written by three production assistants during the time the film was shot. Nice idea, but it only contains postings from April and May 2003 and there are probably not many people who are interested in a weblog with content that is nearly a year old... The second approach looks much more promising: Users of Blogger and Live Journal can download templates and graphics to bring the Spiderman look and feel to their weblogs. I think, that's a pioneering idea with great potential !! And here is why... It is not really new to provide devoted fans and customers with digital giveaways, which let them customize their personal environment. Sony is also doing this with the usual stuff: wallpapers, screensavers or buddy icons. But from a marketers point of view there is a problem with that: most of these elements are only visible to the fan himself. Wouldn't it be a lot better, if he could instead show his affection to the outside world - or at least to friends & family ? Weblogs can solve this problem perfectly ! They usually use templates and stylesheets, which are as easy to change as the ringtone of a mobile or the desktop picture of a pc. Within seconds the whole weblog can be temporarily turned into a giant ad for the blogger's favorite brand !! And one that is really hard to overlook while still being relatively unintrusive and also very authentic. Because it is not really an ad. It is more an endorsement by a person who's opinion is obviously of some interest to the people who are reading his weblog... So for brands with very devoted customers, weblog templates and stylesheets can become really interesting agents for viral marketing and a very efficient way to complement an online branding campaign. By the way, if you have any doubt that this works, just pay a short visit to the weblog of Jason Shellen - he clearly got infected !! ;-)
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How to earn some money with your weblog - using Google Adsense...

Matt Haughey tells the story of his 3 month old weblog on Personal Video Recorders (PVR) and how he was able to make some serious money with it employing the help of Google Adsense:
"(...) Make no mistake, last month PVRblog made a lot of money from Adsense. When was the last time you heard someone say they received a check for advertising on their hobby site that could be used to purchase a fully loaded Aeron chair ? Sounds like something you might have heard in 1998, no? Well it's true today, and I hope a lot more people meet with the same success.(...)"
Despite all the heat Google took last week for their terms of service (see last posting), it is good to see that the Adsense program really works !
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Google Adsense - Reading the Fineprint...

Russell Beattie takes a long hard look at the Terms And Conditions of the Google Adsense Program:
"(...) Finally - and this is the part that bugs me the most - the numbers have been changing constantly. You may go to your site and get a list of click throughs and the money you've earned, and the next day, the amount of money has dropped for no reason, and then when you receive your check, the amount doesn't correspond to *anything*. Google doesn't give you a log of clicks, advertisers and fees with the check. There's no transparency at all. Google gets to decide what they pay you for and how much, *and* they can change these rates at any time. (...)"
Strange - wasn't Google supposed to be one of the good guys ?
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New Viral Campaign from Heineken USA

Heineken has just launched a brilliant online branding campaign in the US (via Fast Company Now): To build initial awareness, they started with print ads featuring funny, but fake newspaper articles about Heineken. Now these ads are complemented by a clever viral marketing part: On the campaign microsite you can create your own fake article about a person you know. Then an email is sent to your victim with an authentic looking URL from one of the two partner publications (Maxim or SportingNews) poiting to the hoax. And suddenly this poor guy stares at a startling headline with his name in it !? A great idea for a viral campaign - technically extremely simple, but pretty slick and elegantly implemented. I am really anxious to see how successful it'll be...
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New Study: Teens in the US now spend more Time online than watching TV

AdAge.com reports about a new study commissioned by Yahoo! and Carat Interactive (Original news release):
The study, "Born to Be Wired: Understanding the First Wired Generation," confirms other recent reports and widespread assumptions that there has been a profound shift in the way teens and young adults treat and engage with media. The 47 million people who make up the 13 to 24 age group spend an estimated $149 billion, 15% of which is spent online, and their influence on other people extends by as much as five times their spending, according to the findings. During an average week, according to the report, 13- to 24-year-olds spend:
  1. 16.7 hours online (excluding email)
  2. 13.6 hours watching TV
  3. 12 hours listening to the radio
  4. 7.7 hours talking on the phone
  5. 6 hours reading books and magazines (personal, not scholastic)
Teens and young adults almost universally engage in other media-related activities while they're online: Some 68% listen to CDs or MP3s; 50% watch TV; 45% talk on the phone; 45% listen to the radio; 45% do homework; 21% read. Only 5% of those surveyed said they do nothing else while they're online. Today's media fragmentation, a headache for marketers and a frustration for adults looking to simplify their media options, presents an energizing challenge rather than a problem for most teens and young adults. They thrive on the sheer variety of choices and enjoy managing, controlling and personalizing them. That 13- to 24-year-olds, dubbed "Milliennials," are extremely comfortable with such media multitasking was the single most striking study finding for Sarah Fay, president of Carat Interactive. "We know they are juggling more media, making their attention spans shorter and more challenging to capture," she said.
Anybody aware of a recent study like this for Germany or Europe ?
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New Viral Campaign from Sony

Sony is about to start a new online viral campaign in UK to promote their Net MD and Altrac CD Walkman. I think, it is not officially launched yet, but you can see the website here: www.canttellthedifference.com (found at Up2Speed). I don't know... The flash clips are somewhat funny, but what is the message behind them ? You can play any music on the new Sony Net MD ?? Well, thanks for the hint, but I could do this already on my first Sony Walkman, which I bought nearly 20 years ago... And I can't find the answer to a pretty obvious question: what do I need a Net MD for in the age of the iPod ?
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