iPhone 3.0 Features for 17 Million People

As Apple has rolled out a list of impressive new features for the iPhone operating system (OS), one important detail has been giving only minor coverage.

According to CNet, there are now 17 Million iPhones out there…and 13.7 Million of those were sold in 2008. Um…wow. So, despite a struggling economy, people will find enough money to buy products that are really, really good. Or, in the words of Steve Jobs “insanely great.”

iPhone OS 3.0  great news for marketers & publishers, since iPhones (really just mini computers) are perfect for multimedia communications. Better applications make it easier for people to consume media of their choice. If they want news, they’ve got it. If they want video, it’s all there. And, if they actually want product information, it’s there too.

The iPhone continues to grow as a business and personal device.

Insanely great? An understatement.

Marketing Google Voice on YouTube

Google’s plan to organize the world’s information just got one step closer to reality with the release of Google Voice. Basically, this is a service that translates voicemail messages into text.

Here’s the announcement. Watch the video, since it’s actually the reason I am posting this blog.

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/here-comes-google-voice.html

Done? Good.

Google is smart on a lot of levels. They understand that people absorb information in different ways. By posting their announcement in text and in video, they make it easy for people to receive their message.

The Google Voice video is on YouTube (a Google property), which also means that people who use YouTube for news will receive their message as well. So they didn’t just tell me what was cool about Google Voice, they showed me. Seeing it in action makes me want to use it. It creates the “want.”

Marketers who have a message may want to consider offering their message on multiple platforms, including video. It seems to be working out okay for Google, y’know?

Brand-You Case Study: Bob Parsons of GoDaddy

Even if you’ve never heard of Bob Parsons, you’ve probably seen one of his ads. Or, at very least, surfed a website that he’s registered.

Y’see, Bob Parsons is the owner of GoDaddy.com, which is one of the places where people go to register their website names. They are known among web developers for having good prices and services.

Most of the world, however, if familiar with GoDaddy because of their racy, sometimes controversial, television commercials. GoDaddy spends a fortune advertising a very, very niche service to one of the largest annual television audiences in the country.

Why advertise a niche service to people who would never even be in the market to buy your services? It’s hard to say why Parsons would want to reach so many people who have never (and never will) buy a website URL.

One thing’s for sure….Parsons likes to promote himself and GoDaddy. And, as a marketer, he’s done a very good job. Not everyone likes Parsons’ outgoing, ex-Marine public persona. He’s an in-your-face businessman who wears his personality on his BobParsons.me website and the web properties that he owns.

On his site, Parsons tirelessly blogs and vlogs his opinions. No doubt his “Straight Talk” blog has raised the ire of some people. It would be an understatement to say that Parsons has an opinion about his competitors. It’s rare to see someone comment on competitors’ tactics so directly.

Love him or hate him, Parsons has made himself an Internet celebrity. And he’s not just a celebrity for being famous, he’s actually a successful entrepreneur. He’s been selling website registrations since around 1997.

Check out this video of Bob Parsons, as he makes direct comments about the competition, the advantages of using GoDaddy, and even mistakes he’s personally made over the year. Even if you don’t like him, you have to admit, he’s working hard to build the Bob Parson Brand.

Video: Bob Parson’s 1st Annual Ding Dong Awards (2008)

Also, check out the very funny GoDaddy video that was spread on the Internet when the SuperBowl supposedly (who knows if it’s really true) rejected the GoDaddy commercial. It shows an entertaining fictionalization of GoDaddy spokesmodel Nikki Capelli (actress Candice Michelle…link not for work) giving testimony at the Broadcast Censorship Hearings. It’s well written, shot, and acted and has been watched hundreds of thousands of times.

(It’s okay to watch this video at work.)

AudioSwap for YouTube – Legal music for videos

Now that my book “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Men and Boys” is on the stands, I am looking for new ways to promote it.

Using my trusty Mac, I created a video showing key images. The video looked great, but I had no audio. Well, no legal audio, at least.

In the past, I might have just slapped a song on it and posted it. But there’s an increased awareness about using copyrighted music. Plus, as someone who creates copyrighted images, I wouldnt want someone using my work without permission.

Creative Commons music was too restrictive for what I wanted to do.

Then I discovered a cool little feature in YouTube called “AudioSwap.”

Basically, I uploaded my video without an audio track. Then, YouTube found songs of the approximate length of my video (1 min 31 sec). YouTube allowed me to “Preview” my video with several different audio tracks.

When I finally found something I liked, I clicked “Publish,” and waited. (And waited and waited.) A few agonizing hours later, my video appeared with a fantastic audio track.

It wasn’t perfect, since the music just cuts off when the video starts. A better feature would be to give the option to fade out the audio.

But all things considered, it’s a fantastic solution for video producers like me. Hopefully YouTube continues to support this effort. And keep it free.

The final video is posted below:

Podcasting Your Brand Message

Looking for a new way to spread the word about your business or service? Look no further than your iPod.

If you have an iPod (isn’t that a requirement for living in the USA?), you have iTunes.

There’s a button for “Podcasts,” which are audio programs. Like radio shows without the radio.

I download podcasts every time I plug in my iPod. It’s a free and legal service provided by Apple.

One of my favorites is the screenwriting podcast “On The Page,” hosted by Pilar Alessandra. As an educational and motivational resource, On The Page is nearly as good as having your personal writing cheerleader. (Note: If actual cheerleaders would like to cheer for me, please send photos.)

On the podcast, Pilar would talk about her Los Angeles screenwriting classes. These sounded great, but could be a long drive for me, since I live in New Jersey.

Then…she announced a New York class. And with the speed of Mercury and the riches of Midas, I sent her $125.

I sent my money because the podcast actually proved that Pilar knew how to teach screenwriting. Think about it. I sent a total stranger $125 over the Internet. Because I listened to her podcast every week, Pilar was not really a stranger. Her podcast proved that she was what she claimed: A professional who taught the craft and business of screenwriting.

For Pilar Alessandra’s screenwriting classes, podcasting turned out to be an effective marketing tool.

Is something you’re doing worth talking about? Consider speaking about your brand message through a podcast.

Pilar ALESSANDRA & Buddy Scalera in NY

Pilar ALESSANDRA & Buddy Scalera in NY

Batman Isn’t a Comic Anymore?

In “Why Comics Are Doomed,” I argued that for comics to survive, we need to stop marketing them as “children’s entertainment.” We need to position comics as entertainment for adults.

Here’s proof why. In the newspaper, there are “movie capsules” that encapsulate the movie. Here, dear friends, is the description for:

“The Dark Knight”
Batman isn’t a comic book anymore. Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” is a haunted film that leaps beyond its origins and becomes and engrossing tragedy. It creates characters we care about. That’s because of the performances, because of the direction, because of the writing, and because of the superlative technical quality of the entire production. The key performance in the movie is by the late Heath Ledger, as the Joker.

The first sentence reveals a preconceived notion shared by many people. They expect comics to be campy, mindless entertainment for kids.

The second sentence goes  further when it notes it is “a haunted film that leaps beyond its origins and becomes and engrossing tragedy.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t Batman always been an engrossing tragedy? Not every issue, sure, but some of them, right?

To this writer, “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man” are simply grown up versions of comics. Storytelling flukes created by sophisticated master filmmakers. Nothing in traditional comic books can come close.

For all of you 40-year-old virgins, this is how many people think about comics.

How many people saw “The Dark Knight” and then went to the comic book store to buy Detective Comics? Probably not many, since the assumption is that the movie is for adults…and the comic books are for the kids.

If we keep marketing comics as children’s entertainment, the medium is doomed. Even Hollywood cant save us from ourselves.

Why Comic Book Publishing is Doomed

Here’s why comic book publishing is doomed…

Stopped at the local library today and thought it would be fun to see what comics and graphic novels they had on the shelves. And for some reason, I made the mistake of asking the aging librarians where to find…well, let me just tell you how it went.

ME: Hi, I’m looking for comics and graphic novels.

LIBRARIAN: What?

ME: Comic books, graphic novels. Do you have a section for them?

LIBRARIAN: (loudly to other librarian) He wants to know if we have “comic books”?

And in that moment, I regretted even asking. I could feel their harsh literary judgment scalding me, and I  wished that I’d asked if they had a porn section.

LIBRARIAN #2: Graphic novels? YA.

ME: Thanks. I see it…

LIBRARIAN: Go over to that section marked “YA.” That’s for “Young Adults and Teens.” That’s where we keep graphic novels.

ME: Thanks.

LIBRARIAN: Teen section.

ME: Thanks.

Okay. Back to the “doomed” part.

Comic book publishing is doomed if the industry continues to market comics and graphic novels to kids. Kids don’t buy comics like they used to. By and large, adults are buying comics. Don’t believe me? Go to the comic store and observe who is going up to the register to buy comics.

And let’s face it, what adult wants to be shopping or even browsing in the “teen” section of a bookstore or library.

Stop marketing comics as teen literature and make it easier for adults to shop for comics.

Free Isn’t Really Free

Lots of people, including me, use free applications. This blog is on the free version of WordPress.

But free really isn’t free. There’s always a price.

As Google grows, more people register to use their free tools, including GMail, Google Documents, YouTube, and this little tool called “Search.” Yes, and it’s all free. We love free, right?

Google is a for-profit company that has a responsibility to it’s shareholders and employees. The smart engineers who write the code for these free applications…well, they need to get paid. Everyone needs to get paid.

So how does Google make money? Well, right now, they leverage the immense amount of data that they capture every time we do a search. Or they monetize the content of our emails. Or our social networks. Or our video viewing habits.

And it’s all legal and completely above board. It’s right there in their privacy policy, if you choose to read it. It’s really not Google’s fault if you dont read the fine print. Google is an exceptional company, creates a lot of great of amazing products and does a lot of wonderful socially responsible things. But all this is made possible because they also run a hell of a business.

Google, Yahoo, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, WordPress and others offer free services with the hopes of getting a LOT of people to register. Then, they monetize it by selling profiling data about how we use their free services. (Note: Broadcast television and radio work in similar ways. Newspapers charge a fraction of what it costs to print and deliver the paper. It’s all fueled by advertising.)

Many people are thrilled that there’s a free alternative to Microsoft’s Office suite. But when you buy their software, you get a certain amount of protected anonymity. Microsoft isnt data mining information from your private Excel spreadsheets, but free services like Google Documents and Zoho can. The front end of these services are free, but they need to find a way to earn a profit. And currently that’s done by aggregating user behavior and selling it to advertisers.

There’s really no such thing as free. And with Internet applications, free is a temporary concept. Eventually, we will all have to pay.

Techronyms for Search

In the technology business, there’s a new acronym for every new product, idea, or process. They call these “techronyms.”

Anyway, I find that mnemonic tricks sometimes help me remember techronyms and people’s names.

I wanted to share a quick one that comes up all the time when I talk with people about Google Adwords and Yahoo Search Marketing. Here’s one to help you remember the difference between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Remember that the “M” in SEM stands for “money.” The “O” in SEO is for “zero-dollars.” That’s because SEO is free.

As I think of more techronyms, I’ll post ’em. If you’ve got any, post ’em.

Tissot Thinks I’m a Dummy

I love the Tissot T-Touch Watch, so I’ve been checking out their website to see when they’ll be announcing the new model. It’s a splurge, I know, but I really want one. It’s really the coolest watch on the market today.

But surfing their website, I felt a little sad. This big, powerful mega corporation thinks I’m a dummy. Dont believe me? Check out the screenshot of what popped up when I was clicking around their interactive online demo at the Tissot T-Touch website.

Dummy marketing by Tissot

I mean, so WHAT if I’m not that bright? I never claimed to be the smartestest person in the world. There’s no reason to insert insulting little messages around your site. It doesn’t exactly encourage me to buy your big, mean, bully watch.

Then again, maybe that’s the new marketing trend. Rather than tell people how smart they are for buying your brand, you can tell them how dumb they are. Maybe they call it “Dummy Marketing.” And it’s so cutting edge that they can claim a “first-to-market” status on Dummy Marketing. Brilliant!

Here, I’ll give it a try. Thanks for reading my blog, Dummy.

PS: Dummy Marketing is (c) 2008 Buddy Scalera. So there.