Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Ammado, Spammado – A social network that spams

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Ammado spams a lot of Irish bloggers but it’s for a good cause so that’s ok apparently. They also lecture me in the comments of Justin’s blog. Think of the children. Fuck you Ammado and your fucking vapourware website.

So in case you didn’t see it on Michele’s blog or Justin’s, Ammado a social network for NGOs or some such thing decided to whore their site in the guise of an appeal for help with the UNHCR. A long list of bloggers were targeted because what, we give a shit? Not me.

This is the excuse and non-apology left on Justin’s blog, though they called him Jason. They got his email right but failed to do the same in the comments. Fucktards:

My name is Anna Kupka and I am part of the ammado team. On behalf of ammado I would like to apologize to you and those who feel that ammado spammed them with unsolicited emails. We sent out an appeal to the blogosphere as we believe that you guys are in the best position to spread the word about the humanitarian crises which are happening around the world.

We didn’t expect that this appeal would be regarded as spam and were obviously mistaken in this assumption. Our sincerest apologies for this – we will do our very best to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. We are still in beta (redesigning the site right now which will be launched in June). Processes have yet to be optimized and as we aspire to continue to be a site which wins people’s trust, we will do our very best to avoid a repeat of this situation. Please feel free to contact me anytime if you want to discuss further, best regards, Anna

What a load of bollox. If you talk yourself up at the IIA Congress and all over the press over the past few months as having a clue about people and the web you have no excuse whatsoever for spamming and for your lack of understanding of one of the most basic tenets of the Internet. The Beta excuse is insulting and the non-apology apology is bad too. How come the apologies didn’t come from Peter Conlon since he sent the email or did he? If he didn’t then I think that new consumer law and false representations could get these shills into further trouble. As is I’ll be making a complaint to my friends in the Data Privacy Commissioner’s office and contacting whatever the nearest UNHCR office is and asking them to confirm they gave permission for the spamming. I’m sure the search engine hit of the three blog posts (so far) about this will also leave a sting. (Justin’s Ammado post is already 3rd in Google.)

I wonder will Ammado publicly respond to the following questions:
Where did you get my email address and everyone elses? Did you harvest them? Who sanctioned this?
How are my details stored?
Who sent the email?

While Pat Phelan is more forgiving, like he was when iFoods spammed a load of bloggers (yet again) (cos he’s of the nice guy breed) I will not be. Spam is a serious issue that is not considered by the many morons who decide to start a web business and who seem to think that a blogger and their email address is another business tool that can be used and abused in any which way to make them money. Around the same time as the Ammado spam I got a very nice email from a guy also with a web service which was personalised and solicited an opinion from me, not suggested I blog about some UNHCR stuff which will also help spread the word about spammado. I’ll give some time to that guy, Ammado have only increased the dislike I have for them after their second comment on Justin’s blog. Expect nothing less from spammers without a clue about technology.

More from Alexia and Suzy.

Internet Marketing – Campaign Measurement with YouTube and Feedburner

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

This is the another in a series of posts about measurement. I’ve written previously about how to monitor what people are saying about you online and the tools mentioned are great ways of seeing what blogs, websites, people on Twitter and people on YouTube are saying about you. stewart Curry has also written a great post on it. These same tools are the same ones you can use to monitor and gauge the effectiveness of an Internet Marketing Campaign that you might be running.

But there are a few more ways of course. Take the previous post and the Facebook measurement post and the below into account when you are running a campaign.

Measuring your Internet Marketing campaign on YouTube

YouTube now has “Insights” for your videos. They supply some fantastic stats now that shows you how many viewed the video, where they came from, how they came to find it, their gender and age groups etc. With all these details you can give se exactly how effective you were and even amend live campaigns due to the data.

Here are some stats on my David Lynch on an iPhone video, 20k views and YouTube breaks it down for me which is great:

The four tabs for stats:
YouTube Stats

Stats the public can also see:
YouTube Stats

Graph goodness:
YouTube Stats

There’s a lot more stats too so log in and have a look. The Google Blog gives more details about YouTube Insights. This is a good Washington Post article on how marketing companies use it too.

Measuring your Internet Marketing campaign blog with Feedburner

Feedburner, also owned by Google helps you monitor your blog feed subscriptions. You can see how many people are subbed to your blog, where they come from, what blog posts they found most interesting, what feed reader they used and who is subbed to the blog via email. You can export data to Excel and you should be able to track growth rate and other stats over time with this.

Feedburner Stats

Feedburner Stats

Feedburner Stats

Internet Marketing – Measuring your Facebook campaign

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

It seems the experts that were at the IIA Congress last week didn’t know how to measure the success of a campaign inside Social Networks. Well here you go folks. For those that are hiring an Internet Marketing company in Ireland to do some social network marketing stuff and they don’t offer stats from the below methods then maybe you hired one of the many cowboy operations that slither around this area.

There are various elements in this and it all depends on which ones were incorporated into your campaign.

Check your website stats:

While Facebook is a walled garden and you can’t see inside it without logging in, they still send a lot of traffic out to websites. If you have set up a Facebook Profile, a Page, a Group or run Facebook “Social Ads” then they can all send users from Facebook to you. In addition so can anyone else in Twitter if they’re talking about you. For a marketing campaign you should have special website addresses tailored for the campaign so you know only your campaign elements are sending that traffic to your site. Google Analytics or any of the clones will allow you to measure incoming traffic from Facebook and you can tell if they are coming from profiles, ads, pages or groups.

Facebook Lexicon

Facebook Lexicon allows you to see what Facebook users have been discussing. It’s a keyword trend program that doesn’t show the number of times a keyword is mentioned but the number of people who mentioned the keyword one or more times over a certain period of time. More details on Facebook Lexicon here. For companies you can get an estimate of the number of times your brand or product is mentioned. Ideal to see are there jumps around the time you start a campaign. You can also compare up to five different keywords at the same time. But there’s a big but, it doesn’t give raw numbers so it’s just a rough estimate but it’s still good. Maybe you can purchase them from them though? Big marketing companies would probably pay for that.

Facebook Lexicon

Facebook Pages

I recently created a Facebook “Page” which is very much like a profile but for a company, brand, product. Instead of friending this Page, you “Fan” it. The Page was called “Gnéas” as a joke. When you become a fan, your friends also see you’ve become a fan of it as it shows up in their news feed. So a few people saw “Damien is a fan of Gnéas” and the viral element would have encouraged others to join too. The stats that are provided to Page owners are fairly good.

This is the Insights Control Panel (Everyone calls the stats Insights these days):
Facebook Stats

This is a graph of sign-up activity:
Facebook Stats

Some demographics of the Fans:
Facebook Stats

Facebook Social Ads

Read this Blog Post on how to run Social Ads. Like Pages there’s a whole section on statistics for your ads.

This is the Ads control panel. Note that the ads for the Gnéas page got canned because the Facebook prudes deemed the ads inappropriate:
Facebook Ad Measurement

Here’s how you can export all your data to Excel and add more calculations:
Facebook Ad Measurement

Facebook Apps

Many marketing campaigns will include the creation of special applications to get people to learn more about your brand/product. If you have an application created, Facebook will give you a whole load of information about installations and usage. Who, what, where, when etc. Data once again can be exported and presented to you.
Facebook App Measurement

Messy Measuring – Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups can be created by anyone and some do well and some stagnate. It takes a lot of work to keep activity going and Facebook really prefers if you use Facebook Pages to do marketing. They supply nice stat tools as mentioned above for Facebook Pages but nothing at all for Groups unless you pay a considerable sum for a sponsored Group. But you can manually check your group and measure it. Measuring it is a case of seeing how many have signed up for the Group and what the activity is like. So for example, the Bertie, Take Enda With You group:
Facebook Groups

You can see how many members there are. Then you can see what kind of activity is happening by counting the number of discussions, photos and videos that have started/ were added.
Facebook Groups

And you can also look at the Wall activity.
Facebook Groups

As I said, nothing that’s automated and more work but still data that’s valuable. Other measurements to take into account are the number of people that respond to messages that you send to the whole Group. See what the response rate is like. Don’t be surprised if it’s very very low.

I hope this was useful. Shall I do one on Bebo next?

Can you Digg this? – A Nokia charger cost Vodafone Ireland over 1700 quid

Monday, May 19th, 2008

I think this is worth DIGGing. Frank wasn’t allowed collect his phone from repair until he returned the crappy spare they gave him AND the charger. He forgot to bring the charger back with him.

After arguing with the store manager she refused to trust him to return the charger if she handed back his phone first. She didn’t care that he spent over 200 quid a month with Vodafone. Over a charger than doesn’t even work on the latest Nokia phones. So they lost a golden customer.

Here’s the DIGG post

This is a picture of a donkey:
wild mule
Photo owned by lexdenn (cc)

Seesmic Video comments – A spammers delight?

Monday, May 19th, 2008

By the way, given Loic‘s passion and ability to market his products I have no doubt that Seesmic itself will be a success. Not many startups can get Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg and the man that ruined the Star Wars legend to use their service to promote their movies and Seesmic also keeps trying new things too while the other videoblogging services just seem to wallow. So Seesmic itself will do well and make money for their investors and employees but I think this video comment aspect is not a good development.

You may have seen a few blogs of late allowing people to leave video comments in the comments section. That’s due to not very reliable flash based video blogging service Seesmic. I tried using it a few months back and was less than impressed. Totally flakey and bug ridden and it crashed Firefox. It’s improved an awful lot and I think Loic the founder and the team understand blogs and social networks more than most in that area. But leaving a video comment instead of a string of text? Not good for SEO, not good for people that scan through comments. Video comments make blog posts less usable, not more usable. Just like podcasts as a means of getting around typing make the web worse, not better. Too many lazy people and those who love the sound of their own voice are using podcasts and videos to produce content which would be better in text form.

Instead of quickly scanning through comments and finding interesting links that those leaving comments might provide, now you have to click 17 individual videos and watch people feed their egos when they leave comments. Joy oh joy.

Naked Vlog Campaign
Photo owned by koka_sexton (cc)

But while Loic says it stops nasty anonymous comments, I think Seesmic blog comments are perfect for spamming. Askimet won’t stop some video spammers since there’s no text to figure out if it’s spam or real conent, a person that clicks the message won’t spot it’s spam til the video is playing. Spammers resort to image text spams by email now, so why not video text spams for blogs? There’s enough people gaming YouTube with shit videos by keyword spamming and they can’t tackle that so well. Seesmic will prove a perfect distribution mechanism for spam. I’m sure it’ll eventually be dealt with somehow but in the short term expect blogs that allow video comments to start getting video spam.

Sunday Morning Inspiration

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Check out this 30 minute presentation from Paul Graham about how benevolent startups succeed.

Then have a read of this Malcolm Gladwell article about inventions not being unique and that all inventions are inevitable. He also goes on about getting the right crew together can cause a lot more inventions to happen. Inspiring.

The Irish Web Awards – Judging Criteria

Friday, May 16th, 2008

I may have mentioned the Irish Web Awards before. They’re in Dublin on October 11th. A Web awards based on the structure of the Blog Awards (free nominations, all nominations are judged etc.) and since this is an Awards not about the sponsors but those taking part I’d like to get the feedback of the public on how they think a website should be judged. I’ve asked a few folk privately about what the think the criteria should be for judging websites but I want as many opinions as possible. The feedback here will shape what the criteria for the judges of the Web Awards will be.

There’s all the usual ideas of marks for functionality, design, utility and so forth. I was wondering should there be any mandatory criteria for a website to get nominated such as HTML 4.01 or XHTML 1.0 compliant but some have pointed out that many sites that are full of browser hacks to get them to look nice will probably not validate but extra marks should perhaps be given if they look well in many browsers AND validate.

So should there be points out of 10 for the basics like design, utility, functionality and then extra marks for usability, conformance to WAI WCAG AA, HTML 4.01 compliance?

I do of course understand that there will never be full agreement on the criteria so will try and make it fair and balanced. But not the Fox news style of fair and balanced.

Photo from Tub Gurnard

Half day Business Blogging Course in Galway – June 5th

Friday, May 16th, 2008

More self-promotion. Another hugely subsidised Blogging Course, this time in Galway on June 5th. Me again, this time in association with the Galway Executive Skillnet folks.

Venue: Westbic, IDA Business Park, Mervue, Galway
Time: 9.30 – 1pm
Fee for non members is €32

Anyone interested can email info < at > Or ring 091 755736

Eyre Square, Galway
Photo owned by wjmarnoch (cc)

Vodafone Customers – Check your account

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Seems Vodafone accidently double billed some credit card paying customers and will eventually rebate them. Looks like they haven’t told their customers about the snafu though.

The bit that interests me is the crappy customer service that Conor got. I own the pretty much dead blog (Which is coming back as a different service later this Summer) and this is the kind of customer care you should not have to deal with.

Got this from Conor Byrne:

Have you heard about Vodafones double charging of customers who have paid by credit card. I am one of those customers. When I discovered the charge I rang Visa and was told to ring Vodafone. I rang Vodafone and the girl in Customer Care (thats a joke) told me that no there was no double charge on my account. I was looking at the charge and explained to her I didnt care what her screen was telling her, that I WAS double charged. She then went off to “speak to a supervisor” (God I hate that line) and then told me to fax the proof. I had to prove to them! I said I had no access to a fax machine and could I email it….no there was no email address (really an organisation the size of Vodafone has no staff emails?). Eventually I got an email. That was 11 days ago. And there is still no refund on my account. I have had to email Vodafone 4 times to see what is going on before I even got a reply…and this is the reply I got:

Vodafone email:

It has been discovered that due to a technical error, some credit card payments made on My Vodafone by a small number of customers were duplicated for each paying customer.

Some customers who made CC payments between the 23rd of April and the 11th of May were charged on a duplicate basis.

The issue is currently still under investigation and a rebate will be applied shortly.

Unfortunately I wish I could give you more information than this, but this is all I know at the moment. I do know that a rebate is going to be applied but not the exact date when this will happen, and I am not in a position to refund the card myself as this is being dealt with at a higher level.

It kind of gets better, they haven’t actually informed customers about this. They need to figure it out themselves:

When I asked to speak to the person who would know (the higher level person) what was going on I was told to call Customer Care on 1907!!

Do Vodafone just not care. They didnt communicate with me to tell me this had happened, didnt assure me that it would be resolved quickly, didnt call me (lets face it they have my number) or email me (and everyone else) to tell us what the latest was.

Circle of life
Photo owned by Robyn Gallagher (cc)

Business Blogging Training Course in Waterford – June 3rd

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

I’m doing a Business Blogging training Course in the ArcLabs Research and Innovation Centre in the WIT Carriganore Campus on June 3rd. It’s a full day course with lunch and refreshments and all that thrown in. The cost of the course is a considerably reduced price of €120 per person for the day and Arc Labs were on to me to say there are some places open for the public if you want to attend.


A 1-day workshop on using blogs to enhance communications with your customer how can blogging help your business?

Amongst other things I’ll be covering:

* Using your blog to boost your search engine rankings

* Using your blog to mark you out as an expert in your field

* Showing how blogging improves your overall communications with customers

* How to use your blog as an R&D resource

* How to write and phrase the content on your blog, how best to interact with those that read it and how to get your blog noticed

The theory is disposed of quite quickly as I’ll have those attending logging into blogs and composing blog posts as soon as we have an understanding of the basics.

Give Mary Fearon a call on 051-302900 or email her on if you want to book a place.

Photo owned by bea&txm (cc)