Archive for November, 2008


The “Shonky Awards”

“Keeping the b@st@rds honest”. That was once the by-line of the Australia Democrat party, and a bi-line that has been adopted, in spirit at least, by in their mission to identify and publicly name & shame questionable behaviour by corporates. I’m sure the marketers who worked on the campaigns at the various companies featured in the Shonky’s are cursing Choice right now, but I applaud the work Choice do. Because after all, someone does have to keep us honest.

Check out the awards here 


Magpie / Twitter ad strategy isn’t the same as a blog ad strategy

After recently following Jeremiah Owyang ( on twitter, I came across his tweets about Magpie (inserts ads into your Twitter updates as though they were actually your tweets) being similar to having advertising on blogs. Before I go any further, I need to make it clear I have great, great respect for Jeremiah (I religiously read his blog –, HOWEVER I just happen to disagree with him on this point.

Anyway, Jeremiah cited the fact that TechCrunch puts ads in it’s RSS feeds whilst retaining 1.4million subscribers as proof Magpie can work (, so I thought I’d stop twittering and break out a blog post to discuss further (there’s only so much you can discuss in 140 characters). My stance – having ads inserted in your twitter feeds is ALOT different to having ads on your blogs or RSS feeds. I’m not saying that having ads inserted in your twitter feeds will not happen, or that Magpie will not be successful in varying degrees. I think Jeremiah is spot on when he tweets “Marketers always follow crowds”. Marketers want a piece of Twitter, no doubt, and if Twitterers can make a buck out of it too, I’m sure there will be plenty of adapters.

However, what Magpie does is insert an ad as a twitter update (one ad tweet for every 5 normal tweets), which I think will bug the heck out of followers. We already know how annoying people find disruptive advertising on social network sites, so Magpie is definitely not the optimal way to advertise on Twitter, or indeed any social media, as it is completely disruptive. I don’t have the answer for effective advertising on Twitter, but if I follow someone and their every 6th tweet is an ad, their updates better be damn good to avoid me un-following you. There is enough noise on Twitter as it is, what with people keeping me updated that they are going to the gym or just back from the gym or haven’t been to the gym in 4 weeks, without more noise in the form of ads in my feed.

To further pursue Jeremiah’s point about TechCrunch’s  ads in their RSS feed, the RSS equivalent of Magpie is that you would have an entire blog / RSS update devoted to an ad. This would happen every 6th RSS update. It would be annoying. It would not fly. The ads in TechCrunch feeds are embedded within the post itself, so are much less disruptive (See pic below…) Google adSense for RSS Feeds does a similar thing.

snip_techcrunch_ad Example of an ad in TechCrunch RSS feed – not as intrusive.

Magpie is a cute service, don’t get me wrong. People are already adopting it – I’m sure others will follow suit. However, it is going to be annoying, and it is not the same as having ads on your blog, which by and large are now less intrusive. Jeremiah may well be correct in saying we’ll get used to ads in our twitter feeds – but until we start to see more people adopting Magpie and maybe some Forrester research into the effects (:D) I guess it’s all theoretical really.

Q: To anyone out there using Magpie, or who have anyone in their Followed list who uses it, what feedback do you have? Please comment below…


And the survey says… telemarketing is annoying

This week is National Psychology Week, and the Australian Psychology Society kicked it off yesterday with the launch of a study “Dealing with Irritating Events and Situations”. As part of the study, 4467 participants ranked a list of 32 annoying events from most to least annoying. Top of the list as the thing that annoyed most people…. telemarketing.

The obvious limitation to the research is that respondents were given a pre-defined list of ‘annoying’ events to rank, so we can’t say telemarketing is the definitive thing people find most annoying (heck, viewer comments / feedback on Youtube videos should have ranked at least a top 10 birth if the list were definitive). Nonetheless, the writing is on the wall for those who still use cold calling centres to try and flog your wares… you’re annoying. There, I’ve said it. It’s about time you knew. And you can’t pretend to be surprised by these findings either.

Plenty of the other things included in the list are relevant to marketers too… given the general theme of this blog, the ‘Excessive Advertising’ and ‘Unsolicited Email’ points seem to be ones to look out for. Plus, the ‘Customer Service’ annoyances should pretty much become a “Thou shalt not…” 10-commandments-ish guide for Services Marketers.

What do you think of the findings… Any glaring omissions of annoying ‘stuff’? And for the marketers among you, does it worry you if your customers are annoyed by your tactics, or is it all about achieving results and making that money?


Diagram taken from ‘Dealing With Irritating Events and Situations’ by the Australian Psychology Association, 2008 – click diagram for full report.

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November 2008
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