Category Archives: Marketing

Soft launch: day 16

Notes from day 16 of the new job at AnnArbor.com

Here is the "soft launch" definition from Wikipedia; of course you don't completely trust Wikipedia, but it's a first start, especially when you credit it.

Soft launching is the method of launching a missile (such as an anti-tank guided missile) in such a way that the rocket motor ignites outside of the launch tube; the missile is ejected non-explosively. The point is to minimize the risk of damage to the launcher by maintaining a safe distance. Contrast this with hard launching. A similar concept called cold launch was pioneered by the Soviets for application in vertical launch system clusters on board ships.


as trek notes, this is also a good common practice in launches of new software.  This from a 37 Signals essay "Why it's wise to launch softly"

Soft launching lets you tweak and revise. You get the word out there and you gauge interest. You know what works and what doesn’t.


Plus, you get to make mistakes while you’re still in the shadows. Messing up in front of a smaller crowd means you’ll be better off when the bright lights eventually do shine upon you.


The most recent search engine to try to do the hard launch with a massive PR spike was Cuil, a search engine which billed itself as a Google killer and got its brief shining moment in the sun before sinking into oblivion the very next day.  Techcrunch harshed their mellow thusly:

The hype cycle now lasts less than a day. Take yesterday’s over-hyped launch of stealth search startup Cuil, which was quickly followed by a backlash when everyone realized that it was selling a bill of goods. This was entirely the company’s own fault. It pre-briefed every blogger and tech journalist on the planet, but didn’t allow anyone to actually test the search engine before the launch.

For whatever reason, you may or may not have the luxury of starting out in obscurity and growing, mushroom-like, doubling in size every year until you are unstoppable.  Some markets demand a full-sized product at day one with the corresponding market splash.   If you are in that kind of world, at least be aware that you are, and take some people into your confidence who can give you an honest opinion so that you have heard it and internalized it already.

Spam analytics: how effective are spam campaigns?

Just how good do you have to be in direct marketing to have a successful campaign when all of your messages are being delivered as spam?

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2008/11/study_spam_still_profitable_at.html?hpid=sec-tech


Researchers Hijack Storm Worm to Track Profits

A single response from 12 million e-mails is all it takes for spammers
to turn annual profits of millions of dollars promoting knockoff
pharmaceuticals, according to an unprecedented new study on the
economics of spam.

Over a period of about a month in the Spring of 2008, researchers at
the University of California, San Diego and UC Berkeley sought to
measure the conversion rate of spam by quietly infiltrating the Storm
worm botnet, a vast collection of compromised computers once
responsible for sending an estimated 20 percent of all spam.


Spamalytics: An Empirical Analysis of Spam Marketing Conversion – Chris Kanich∗ Christian Kreibich† Kiril…

Ann Arbor sign ordinances

If your neighbor erects a giant sign on their lawn, or on the side of their house, what is your recourse?

UPDATE: In Ann Arbor the simple and direct way to deal with this is to call the city’s Community Standards department at 734-994-1613. A neighbor who has been through this before says that they deal with sign problems promptly.

The appropriate part of the city code reads as follows. NOTE: This is not the official city code site! Find it and read it before complaining.

PDF from the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors:

5:504. Residence signs.

(1) Single and 2-family houses. Townhouses and detached single-family and duplex

houses are permitted signs having a total area of 3 square feet indicating the address and

names of the occupants.

(2) Multiple family residences. Apartment houses, fraternity houses, sorority houses,

cooperative houses, retirement homes, tourist homes and religious institutions are

permitted signs having a total area of 12 square feet indicating only the address, the

names of the occupants and the name of the building or organization.

(3) Subdivisions. Subdivisions of single and 2-family homes and housing complexes of

more than 1 apartment or town house building are permitted signs identifying the

subdivisions or housing complex. Such signs shall have an area of not more than 50

square feet and a height of not more than 8 feet. A subdivision or housing complex shall

not have a total of more than 2 such signs nor more than 1 per entrance.

(Ord. No. 55-74, 6-9-75; Ord. No. 33-82, 8-2-82)

5:505 Temporary signs.

Unilluminated on-premises temporary exterior signs may be erected in accordance with

the regulations of this section.

(1) Single and Two-Family Real Estate–For Sale Signs.

(a) A single sign with a maximum height of 48 inches and a maximum width of 36

inches, including the support structure and all riders, and with the bottom of the sign a

minimum of 6 inches from the ground, advertising the sale of a single or two-family

house or variant property adjacent to such a house is permitted.

(b) Such a sign shall be set back at least 15 feet from the street and at least 5 feet from

the inside edge of the sidewalk, or in accordance with Table 5:505 when conditions do

not permit such placement. Provided, that if a legally existing obstruction on the property

prevents the sign from being seen from the street when the sign is placed in accordance

with the foregoing placement requirements, then the sign may be affixed to or placed

immediately in front of such obstruction, so long as the display face of the sign is parallel

to the right-of-way line, and so long as the sign is not placed within the public right-of-

way.

(c) A sign advertising the sale of a property must be removed within 48 hours after the

closing on the sale.

(2) Single and Two-Family Real Estate–Rental Signs.

(a) A single sign with a maximum height of 48 inches and a maximum width of 36

inches, including the support structure and all riders, and with the bottom of the sign a

minimum of 6 inches from the ground, advertising the rental of a single or two-family

house or variant property adjacent to such a house is permitted.

(b) Such sign shall be set back at least 15 feet from the street and at least 5 feet from

the inside edge of the sidewalk, or in accordance with Table 5:505 when conditions do

not permit such placement. Provided, that if a legally existing obstruction on the property

prevents the sign from being seen from the street when the sign is placed in accordance

with the foregoing placement requirements, then the sign may be affixed to or placed

immediately in front of such obstruction, so long as the display face of the sign is parallel

to the right-of-way line, and so long as the sign is not placed within the public right-of-

way.

(c) A sign advertising the rental of a property must be removed within 48 hours after

the property is no longer available for rent.

(3) Real Estate. A sign with a total area not in excess of 12 square feet advertising the

sale or rental of real estate other than single or two-family houses is permitted pursuant to

a permit having a maximum duration of 120 days. It shall have a maximum height of 10

feet and shall be set back 25 feet unless attached to a permanent building.

The sign board of appeals home page:

Brenda Acquaviva, Appeal Board Administrative Support Specialist

(734) 994-2696 – Bacquaviva@a2gov.org

there’s lots of broken links on that page.

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LA2M – Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing – Wednesday at Eastern Flame

Derek Mehraban organized the first weekly Wednesday downtown Ann Arbor lunch for people in the marketing world at Eastern Flame on Ashley next to the Fleetwood Diner. He’s calling it LA2M.

You can see what a QSL card for LA2M looks like from the 1920s. Derek, if you want to print a sticker, you have a design ready-made.

There were 12 for lunch for the first event, and the restaurant obliged with a soup and sandwich for $5 special. I ate the soup there, took the sandwich to go, and had a good time talking with a Michigan State University undergraduate advertising major, a digital public relations manager for a unit of Publicis, several of the residents of the brickyard, and folks who had come to Ann Arbor from Oakland County for the event.

Derek has been a big proponent of my weekly A2B3 Thursday lunch at Eastern Accents, and I’m happy to return the favor.

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Perry Marshall on marketing-speak

from one of his (many) emails encouraging me to sign up for one of his seminars;

so many marketing messages and advertisements seem artificial and sterile – because the people who write them are just taking their briefcase to work and ‘doing their job’. They’re not connecting with anyone’s passion or angst. They’re merely spouting techno-latin. They spew words like “innovative” and “ROI” and “core competency” and “data management solution” and nobody knows what anybody is talking about. Nor do they care.



“Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords (Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords)” (Perry Marshall, Bryan Todd)

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tigerstadiumsale.com – Detroit Tiger Stadium auction is open

tigerstadiumsale.com is up and running, auctioning off the contents of Tiger Stadium to the highest bidder.

old-english-dLot: 1 : At The Corner Of Trumbull And Michigan Stands This Sign. The Old English D On Top And Tiger Stadium sign Below The Winning Bidder On This Item Will Be Responsible For All Removal Costs Involved.

The auction is managed by Schneider Industries of St. Louis, and run on BidSpotter.com. Schneider managed the 2005 auction that dismantled Busch Stadium, which raised almost $900,000 (The Red Crush)

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