Customers Should Avoid Community Software Vendor Lock In: Own your data

Customers Should Avoid Community Software Vendor Lock In: Own your data

Jeremiah is right — a company entering into SMM should be very wary of outsourced relationships. If you do go outside for support, make sure you are in a portable format so when and if you decided to bring the operation in house, you can easily import the data accumulated under the outsourced relationship:

“I’ve been talking to more and more companies that are creating their own corporate communities around their brand. For the most part, they lean on the SaaS models that the white label social network, collaboration, or even insight community vendors provide. While it certainly makes sense for marketers to lean on application service providers (it’s all setup, ready to roll, without the hassle of dealing with internal IT) and a decent to moderate price.”

We used Ogilvy Digital Influence to launch our first corporate blogs, but insisted it be build atop WordPress so we could migrate the archives onto our own boxes when we hit the tipping point that justified a self-serve. Photos are all in Flickr and easily exported and migrated (well, not exactly “easy”), videos are moving to YouTube.

Massive head cold, serious Cement Head

In case you were wondering why I am more abnormal than usual, I am definitely out of my mind on over-the-counter cold medications this week. I find a blend of DayQuil, TheraFlu Severe Cold (“Severe,” mind you), Cold-Eeze lozenges, Advil, Rolaids and Kleen-ex puts me into Timothy Leary territory.

And here I was thinking I was going to dodge the 2008 bug. Apparently there is a flu — a two week version — right out of Steven King’s The Stand. I cannot afford a case of it and have become agoraphobic as a result.

Questioning Ad Networks

Jason Calacanis tossed a grenade into the burgeoning field of online ad networks in a guest post on Silicon Alley Insider.

The question comes down to Long Tail economics in a mass audience world. How can a small, but strong “niche” site, get paid for its pageviews without assuming the massive cost structure of its own salesforce and ad ops team?

How can a mass site move its unsold remainder inventory without devaluing itself?

The answer is ad networks, but Calacanis writes:

“I’ve never liked the ad network business. They’re a very short term solution and they are very damaging to high-end publishers because they create massive channel conflicts (i.e. many people selling your inventory confusing advertisers), they run horrible ads that people hate (think punch the monkey), and the space is filled with dishonest players (i.e. they promise to not run certain types of ads… but they do).”

Calacanis points to’s decision to drop the network model. And this morning, my colleague Gary Milner points out:
MediaPost Publications – Forbes Joins Ad Network Fray – 03/25/2008

“THE GROWING CROWD OF VERTICAL ad networks got bigger Monday, with Forbes announcing plans to launch a network spanning more than 400 business and financial blogs.Forbes is among the latest media companies trying to squeeze ad dollars from the Internet’s long tail by aggregating niche blogs and Web sites around specific categories and selling targeting advertising across the sites.”

From an advertiser’s point of view, networks are convenient touch points for achieving broad reach with a low “relationship task” — it is unwieldy to negotiate and deal with insertion orders on a site by site basis. Sure, I like dealing directly with the publisher, but it simply isn’t feasible with a tight staff to develop and own relationships with dozens of media properties.

On the other hand (a weasel world I despise), I don’t want to see my brand in the company of Lowermybill’s roof dancers, the punchable monkey, and the other bottom feeders that dominate the display/banner advertising space. There’s a reason one doesn’t find those ads on the higher quality sites, and that’s because those sites have invested in their own sales teams and have the traffic and audience to justify the relationship cost.

Evolution of Security: Meet The TSA Bloggers

Evolution of Security: Meet Our Bloggers

I’ve wondered what it would be like running a blogging program for a generally despised industry or organization. Imagine what online customer service is like at a health insurer? At an airline? One organization that needs all the goodwill it can get is the Transportation Safety Administration, or TSA. Colleague Lisa S. sent along a link to their blog. I think I knew it existed by I never visited it until this morning.

It’s pretty candid, makes fun of itself in all the right places, puts a human face on some of the bloggers who are actual screeners and managers, and in general provides some good insights into what is happening when you line up in the cattle chute, unshod, jacket off, your one-quart ZipLoc of private toiletries dangling in your hand.

As a guy who clears security at least twice every week, sometimes six times, here’s my drill and recommendations.

  1. Be fast and be smart. Don’t be the mouth breather who goes through carrying an anvil in your pants. “Duh, how did that change get in my pocket.”
  2. Two bins is all it takes. I approach the bins and start the disrobe before it is my turn to unload. Change, pens, phone, blackberry, etc. all go into the jacket/blazer. Boarding pass in shirt pocket,
  3. Laptop in its own bin.
  4. Shoes (always loafers, laces slow you down), then coat, then bag o’shaving gear on top of that.
  5. Bin with shoes, coat, bag does first on the belt. Then carry on. Then laptop. Then backpack.
  6. Look the screen in the eye, wait for the signal, pass through, hand over boarding pass.
  7. Collect gear. Get dressed, repack.

It’s not that bad. In fact, all things considered, it’s down right tolerable. The only time I start to smolder is during school vacations when a ton of families are flying and the lines get longer and less experienced. I would love a priority line for frequent travelers, but so far the concept hasn’t really taken off.

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