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How I Inadvertantly Invented Social Sharing

How I Inadvertantly Invented Social Sharing

What would social media be without the cross-platform share?

We take for granted the fact that we can grab one piece of content that we like and by adding a small piece of code, automagically post a piece of music, meme, or video.  It didn’t just appear one day, it was born out of a marketing campaign necessity and was overlooked for it’s importance, at the time, by a young group of Internet marketers.  We invented the cross-platform share and never staked our claim to fame.

How It Happened

I was a noob.  I may have within my first few months of my digital career.  The one thing I had on my side was a small but well-balanced team of co-conspirators and a sound work ethic.  As a secondary sell-in from Paid Search, I offered what my version of ‘Media’ was at the time.   Not too bad, to be honest.  I had the right idea by creating an integrated approach.  The campaign capitalized on the already existing explosive traffic source from, at the time (2006), one of the 5 or 6 big hitter costume etailers.

(Behavioral) Retargeting?  You betcha, that was a buy from Fetchback in their early days when CPM was a flat $2.  On the frontside of the campaign, to acquire new traffic, we used a social media contest via Brickfish.  For continued engagement and earned media opportunity, we felt that people might have wanted to visually express their excitement for Halloween by posting a picture of their costume, from our client’s home-site, directly to Myspace.  Mind you, in 2006 Myspace was the juggernaut and Facebook was simply regarded as a wannabe.  Twitter was a zygote.  As necessity is the mother of invention and there were no plugins to do such a precise thing it was up to us to figure out in-house.

You wanted to add video, music, link or a despicably ugly background?  Piece of cake, Myspace allowed all of those within their environment and if you knew a little HTML you could download and then upload profile destroying themes.  The offsite push share was virtually unheard of and possibly completely non-existent.  Until we launched this beauty:

share button

 It wasn’t prettiest button or shareable unit, but it was ours.  The numbers were hardly provoking, but we arrived at nearly 10,000 of these push shares to Myspace for the campaign from a few million potential site visitors.  We considered it a drop in the bucket and not a worthy future pursuit.  DOH!

The Build

I couldn’t tell you to this day how it was built.  The dev guy we had at the time was a young fellow from the Republic of Congo.  At the time his English was spotty, but he was a magic man.  I don’t ever remember a particular task not being ‘figured out’ by him.  For this campaign I asked for a button to integrate on site that would grab content and push it to Myspace.   Completely dev-incompetent, I hadn’t the slightest idea how involved or time intensive my request actually was.  Luc smiled when I described the project and then coyly promised that he would have it ready (in 10 days) for the campaign launch.  The commitment I inadvertently asked of him was at least 6 days of working until almost midnight prior to the launch, but he pulled it off in only two revisions.  We pushed it live to the site and then checked weekly (from server logs) how often the code was accessed.  There were no tracking platforms for social.

In conclusion, we proved our crazy hypothesis that people did have an interest in sharing content from sites directly to their Myspace wall.  What we didn’t predict was that we would out think consumers.  If very few (if any) buttons existed, then we shouldn’t have expected usage to widespread or understood.  We were crippled by an education factor from users trust or button knowledge.  That 10,000 is a flash in the pan by new standards for quality content, but then again, the expectation for content quality has multiplied just as fast.

Damn, should have capitalized on that idea…

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It’s taken me a relatively long time to be able to identify my successes, let alone celebrate them.  I used to think that acknowledging success meant settling…

but last week, I beat the machine…

and I can’t be happier about it.  More as a statement and validation than simply retaining a client.  The very thing that I’ve previously written about, robots taking our jobs, stating that those with innovation will survive, came full circle for me.

The story goes something like this (as I’ve come to understand it second and even third handed):

A client began directly interfacing with Facebook shortly after I launched their campaign seeking mobile app installs.  Our Facebook rep, after reviewing my work and the results of campaign (pretty darn good and improving) later referred my client to the Facebook Preferred Ad Vendor under the guise that ‘You could be doing much much better’.  Drinking aforementioned blue and white Kool Aid, the client put my services on hold to perform a week-over-week winner takes all comparison.

What was  I up against?

For starters, I am but one man.  I have no expensive machinery or macros, or software.  I use the Facebook Power Editor, MS Excel, and the native Facebook platform to manage ads and build campaigns.

Reviewing Facebook’s preferred ad vendor list, it could have been anyone of these companies that I was challenged by, but the long and the short is that any one of them would have more substantial bandwidth, technology, and big name clients to draw experience from.

What were/are my challenges?

As with any large scale campaign that is properly developed, the man hours required to manage were/are nearly full-time status with some likely human error always inflicting more pain and punishment.  The Facebook Ad Platform is simply not built to be the active manager of thousands of ads and terabytes of rolling data.  Moving things around, restructuring, and abiding by consistently evolving terms of service create a wild roller coaster of emotions without the assistance of the big software providers (Kenshoo, Wildfire, Acquisio, etc).  There are no alerts, budget monitors, or split test building devices in the stripped down version.  When an ad needs to be clipped or turned back on, my alarm clock is set at midnight and my netbook is always within arms length.

What happened?

The test agency was provided the same instruction, ad collateral, and budget that I had been given all along.  I tested first, which is not necessarily the drivers seat.

Keeping a tight loop on my mid-week budget, I rotated between 10 core targeting segments, adding and subtracting daily budget as performance dictated.  My findings have been that certain age and interest groups operate like migrating predatory fish, appearing at the same time in herds consuming everything in their path.  Over the weekend, I tripled my daily mid-week spend, capitalizing on an already existent engagement observation previously made by the client.

My results were pretty consistent with what I had been producing on a consistent basis, around 10%-15% growth from the previous week.

The opposition took an opposite approach spending the majority of their budget allocation over the first 3 days of the campaign.  As I only had an app ranking tracker to measure the competitor’s results, I was startled when rankings spiked in midweek. They tapered off and fell to the cellar by the weekend, leaving my perception cloudy.

When I was initially presented with this challenged, my expectation was that I had an incredibly daunting task at hand.  Facing just the challenge of new tech was enough to put me in a severe underdog position.  But, seeing ranking numbers that were very pedestrian gave me hope.


The Results

I didn’t receive direct communication from the client immediately after the test.  First word was that we should ‘resume spend as previous’, and I turned back on my money makers,  without delay.  My attached sales rep, who’d been heavily involved in the client management reported to me that from what he could gather, we (meaning I) had outperformed based on the early data.

I acknowledged that this was astounding for one person to even be in the ballpark of outperforming, as I was.  But, it ran even deeper than that.  The rumor mill began to turn, and third-hand people knew and asked me about my BIG win.  David had struketh Goliath, right in the stupid self-entitled face.

It turned out, that it was not even a close race.  Once the data tabulated, I completely mopped the floor with the opposition.  Discovering this, my client fired them in dramatic fashion, recommending that they seek my assistance in revamping their service.  They had mismanaged budget, oversold their capabilities, and didn’t meet any expectations.

Superior strategy and tactical fulfillment proved to be more effective than better technology and bandwidth. 

In this instance, I’ve further substantiated the innovation over robot theory by outperfoming a larger agency that uses global controls and technology versus my manual articulation of ads, but superior launch strategy.

Still wondering how I did it? 

I’m being pretty vague about the ACTUAL delivery method that made my campaign stop-drop-and open up shop.  You would too if you just beat the ‘best’.

I believe that the Facebook ad strategy I’ve used in this amazing win can be replicated for almost any industry.  I’ve spent almost $1million in the last three months testing.  If you would like to take a new, fresh approach to your Facebook marketing, I will back up all of my claims and pull back the curtain.  Simply fill out the form below and mention this post and I will be in contact shortly.









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A Time Capsule of Music for Aliens

As a simple experiment, I asked my Facebook friends…

In your HONEST opinion, what is the BEST single song created in the last 100 years? Like, the one song that you think is worthy of a space time capsule for aliens.

Not necessarily surprising, 37 comments later I had a wide array of responses spanning numerous musical genre.  There are some common threads here, though.  The vast majority picked songs within their own generation rather than really exploring the boundaries of ‘100 years of music’.

What is the message then, for these aforementioned aliens?  By my Facebook friends, it’s a general revealing of vulnerabilities.  We make mistakes-we have weaknesses, and by opening that book to our mysterious visitors from above we ultimately expect compassion and understanding.

In no particular order, below is a playable compilation of the respondents music selections.

,Slayer – Raining Blood,Toxic – Britney Spears (Lyrics),Vanilla Ice – Ice ice baby Lyrics,Me So Horny – 2 Live Crew,Digital Underground – The Humpty Dance,The Eagles- Hotel California- Lyrics- Fun Facts,Blinded by the Light ~ Manfred Mann’s Earth Band with lyrics,Hanson – Mmmbop (Lyrics),R Kelly – Ignition (Remix) – Lyrics|artists=,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,|]


 Were any key songs missed in this group?  Post them below to be included.

HouseCall Home Improvement

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Social Media Contest Insider

I have the rare opportunity to get an inside look at a strictly ORGANIC driven social media contest. Typically when I’ve launched social contests with ambitious goals, I’ve included media buys to help stimulate the acquisition of leads or entrants. A celebrity factor at the highest level is one that I’ve never experienced in predicting a campaign’s output.

Though my role is nominal, I have an inside look at the current running #LIVELIKEADAM Facebook contest, featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5. Here are the details of the campaign…

Creative Agency: Cofa Media
Contest Premise: Every submission to receive Adam Levine’s new fragrance will have an opportunity to enter the #LIVELIKEADAM contest; prize package includes a stay at the famous Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, CA.
Campaign Goal: 100,000 entrants
Flight: Feb 4th-7th

The current assets in play are:
1) A Maroon 5 Facebook fan page with over 17 million likes.
2) A Maroon 5 twitter following of 2.3 million.
3) An Instagram following of over 81,000
4) A custom Facebook App that content-locks exclusive details about #LIVELIKEADAM


The difficulty in launching with reasonable expectation.  Post Super Bowl, will fans and followers of Marron 5/Adam Levine be activated and eager to participate?

The total fanship is approximately 20 million, what would you expect the total entrants count to end up?

As early numbers begin to tabulate, I’ll update in the comment thread below.



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The Day I Met Seth Godin

Seth Godin Chat

In 2009 I was at a point in my marketing agency career that I knew I would have at least a small amount of staying power.

Not that I was necessarily a big shot, but being booked for two pretty sizable speaking engagements taking me to the exotic locales of Minneapolis and NYC gets you feeling pretty proud.

In Minnesota, I happened to be presenting about display advertising in the session prior to Seth Godin. We were sitting next to each other in the speakers lounge as I spent a few minutes focusing on my notes. Actually, he sat next to me in a fuss as he was frustrated with the connectivity and the lack of attention he was receiving from the event hosts; he disrupted me from my meditative state.

Recognizing him immediately, I took the opportunity to introduce myself. We shook hands and I asked where he was from, ‘New York’ being the answer. Procuring traditional small talk, I mentioned that I would be in NYC within the following few weeks to sit on a Behavioral Retargeting panel.

‘What do you expect the weather to be like?’ I coyly asked.
In response, he spouted the canned snark, ‘I have a deal with the local weatherman that they can’t talk about Social Media, and I don’t predict the weather.’

Well, great, I had one chance to make friends with the most recognizable Digital Marketing talking-head in the country and I piss him off.

I’ve thought long and hard about that interaction since and wondered where it all went wrong. Buddha might say that it didn’t go wrong at all since I learned something. It went wrong.

In some imaginary world, I impress Mr. Godin into believing I am his heir to the digital marketing throne, he legally adopts me, I shave my head and am groomed into his protege. Afterwards I sell 1 million books worldwide with my face on the front cover and get frequent calls from CNN for my valuable input.

What went wrong?

The answer now is as clear as day, I gave him an opportunity to retort a canned response with my objective question. Had I asked him to produce a subjective statement, he would have likely been more engaged and able to offer real insight. Lo and behold, I would have simply needed to ask him what his favorite midtown Pizza is. That’s it! It’s not an answer I can easily Google and find out for myself in 2 seconds because I will be flooded with differing opinions. Seth’s midtown pizza recommendation would illicit a response based on self-discovery, of which is one of the strongest sharing influences.

Yelp is full of independent reviews from people that have discovered their new favorite (or least favorite) restaurant, but nobody keeps a running tally on individual weather reports. People are passionate about responses that could have a reasonable amount of contest or debate.

The same holds true when seeking blog or social engagement. You can enhance the response rate of your content by seeking reader responses that are fed by self-discovery and or debatability.

What is the best pizza in your neighborhood, anyways?

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Troll Call

We’ve all run across Internet trolls (an ‘anonymous’ web user that posts rude things and hides behind their username) at some point or another if you’ve been active online, but here are a few headlines within the last week that have one striking common thread and hope for the future of combating iwrongdoers:

1. A girl that thought she was really clever tweets an inappropriate joke about a pro football players deceased brother and is punished by thousands on the Twitter.
Inappropriate Tweet

2. A Sikh woman with facial hair faces ignorant Reddit comment attacks head on and rises victoriously
Reddit would be trolls diverted

3. Some ASU tailgaters took an opportunity to stage a funny photo in creating a ‘baby keg-stand’ and now the Internet and police officials are on a witch hunt.
baby keg stand witch hunt

It appears as thought the Internet community maybe growing up. Comments that used to be commonplace for users of popular blog and news sites have been isolated and exposed for larger consumption. This could be the hatching of a new social movement and sense of accountability for would-be trolls.

Who’s behind this web-evangelism? Will it continue or is it a flash in the pan?

next page

How I Inadvertantly Invented Social Sharing

What would social media be without the cross-platform share? We take for granted the fact...
article post


It’s taken me a relatively long time to be able to identify my successes, let alone...
article post

A Time Capsule of Music for Aliens

As a simple experiment, I asked my Facebook friends… In your HONEST opinion,...
article post

Social Media Contest Insider

I have the rare opportunity to get an inside look at a strictly ORGANIC driven social...
article post

The Day I Met Seth Godin

In 2009 I was at a point in my marketing agency career that I knew I would have at least...
article post

Troll Call

We’ve all run across Internet trolls (an ‘anonymous’ web user that...
article post