Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The web will remain the same (cue your favorite Led Zeppelin song in the background)

Is it naive to think that a technology - or how we use a technology would always stay the same? My short answer is yes.

I've decided to chime in on the Wired / boingboing / mashable / etc . . . debate regarding the web and it's deceased status. I believe that the statistics and facts within the major stories (wired.com / boingboing.net etc.) are accurate; however their conclusions are miles apart and self serving.

*Source wired.com

Jumping right to my point, the web is not dead, our habits as users are simply changing. Yes, peer to peer communication is gaining in popularity. Video is streaming to all endpoints. You can't look around the corner without bumping into an 'app'. And, yes, browsers, e-mail and FTP are still widely in use (and declining).

Our habits as users are moving to everything that is 'cool' (OK, cool is dead). Video, social media, direct apps and mobile use are just a few of the ways that we are using the web in new and different ways.

Even though my opinion is interesting, a couple of statistics always help prove a point:

• Total internet traffic rose from 1 exabyte to 7 exabytes between 2005 and 2010 *Cisco / Boingboing.net
• Global IP traffic grew 45 percent during 2009 to reach an annual run rate of 176 exabytes per year or 15 exabytes per month (and is expected to reach 64 exabytes per month by 2014) *Cisco
• The sum of all forms of video (TV, video on demand, Internet, and P2P) will continue to exceed 91 percent of global consumer traffic by 2014 *Cisco
*Source boingboing.net

It should also be noted that the statistics I have quoted come from the same sources that were used in the 'Web is dead' article from wired.com.

So what is the real message or "news" here? There are a couple of stories:
• The web is not dead, users habits are just changing
• Statistics can be twisted to prove almost any point
• Self serving headlines sometimes work - as there has been an explosion of stories on the topic since the wired.com article

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Teutuls: Family Feud or Brilliant Marketing?

For those of you who have watched American Chopper on TLC, you are familiar with the Teutul family of Orange County Choppers (OCC.). The father and son duo of Paul Senior and Paul Junior (OK, and Mikey!) produce one of a kind choppers usually based on a special or corporate theme (think US Army Reserves, Siemens, Ford, etc . . . ).

The gem behind the show is the family interaction that occurs while OCC builds these incredible bikes. The Tuetul family dynamic could be described as intense, heated and unpredictable. So much so, Paul Junior and Mikey were fired at the end of last season by Paul Senior. There was also news of the show's cancelation and a law suit between Junior and Senior.

Tonight, the Tuetuls are back with TLC pitting both Paul's against each other. The season has been dubbed "Junior vs. Senior" The lead question . . . who's side are you on?

And your question to me is . . . why are you writing about the new season of American Chopper in a tech blog?

In my opinion, being a techie is only one side of producing a valuable presence on the web. At the end of the day, a lot of this stuff is all about marketing. I believe that American Chopper and TLC have stumbled upon a brilliant marketing plan (why I am discussing the topic here) for a show that was probably getting ready to jump the shark.

I say stumbled because I do believe there is conflict within the Teutul family (is there a family that doesn't have conflict?), however, they are smart enough to seize an opportunity.

There is another option here . . . TLC is using the Teutul family to boost ratings and bring in more sponsors - regardless of the impact to the family. OK, everybody is probably using everybody here, but the Teutuls are not going into this season with their eyes closed.

Where do you stand?

• Is there a real Teutul family crisis?
• Is this a brilliant marketing plan?
• Is TLC trying to make money regardless of who gets hurt?
• Is all of the above?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why do I need a website?

While working in the web design / web presence market, I was surprised to uncover that there are many businesses that do not (and don't plan to) have a web site. (USA today: 7 out of 10 solo businesses do not have a website)

OK, I thought, in a sales situation - it is normal to have to prove to a customer what a product (web site) can do for their business. After all, if a business is going to spend money on a web presence, what will the return on investment be? A logical question for any purchase.

As I talked with more businesses, similar statements came up time after time. I questioned deeper. The responses I received were very interesting:

• I've been in business for a long time and am doing fine
• I'm the only game in town
• My customers don't use the internet for this type of thing
• I'm already on restaurant.com (or other group business site)
• I am just starting my business and it is on my list
• I don't have the money right now

Why is this perception out there? Is it because the businesses are based in a smaller town? Do they dislike me as a salesperson? Or, do I need to describe the market and business reasons behind a web site / web presence?

I'm going with the latter! Here are my top 5 (yes, there are more!) market and business reasons behind a web site / web presence:
Your competitors have one - A web site is a simple way to get into the game and play at the same level as your competition no matter the size of your business

Your customers are looking for your web site (even if you don't know it) - This is a customer behavior pattern . . . period

Your customers will become involved in your business including adding other social media tools such as facebook / twitter / etc.  Customers love to be involved, hear things first and first hand, share with others and interact with you

It strengthens your credibility - Having a well-designed, professional website (this is key!) will give your business a credible presence and will increase the trust that customers have in you

• It is working 24/7 for your business


USAtoday.com; entrepreneur.com; wordpress.com; restaurant.com; restaurantreport.com; cnn.com; bigmarketingsmallbusiness.com