December 2005

Tracking Blogging’s Impact Among the Fortune 500

Chris Anderson (of the Long Tail blog & Wired magazine) & Ross Mayfield have created a place to track the blogging efforts of the Fortune 500. It’s a wiki (which means you can edit it & add what you know) will first list the representative blogs of the F500, then, eventually, will have an index that will track stock performance of ‘blogging’ companies versus those that don’t. Of course, it’s not as simple as an 1 or 0 — Apple, for whatever reason, has a blog or two, while Microsoft and Sun have let thousands of blogs bloom in an effort to change perceptions. The origin on the project is pretty interesting, as related by Doc Searls here:

I believe this thread — about why some companies blog and others don’t — began with a conversation Hugh MacLeod and I had a couple years back, about branding. I wrote, Ever notice that the companies that tolerate, and even encourage, blogging… also suck at branding? I mean, they succeed as companies. Meaning, they market well, in their own ways. But their advertising has never been award-winning stuff. They don’t hire expensive agencies and employ Professionals who Manage The Brand. Their image isn’t top-drawer. Companies that rock at branding (by which I mean, they do really good, award-winning advertising)…. Apple… Sony… Coke… Anheuser-Busch… Nike… Gap… aren’t known for their bloggers. Then Hugh wrote, That’s easy enough to explain. Blogging is all about ECO-logy. Branding is all about EGO-logy. The two are not compatible. Which is why brand-wimpy Microsoft has hundreds of bloggers [a well-known fact], and why you can get fired for blogging at uber-brand Apple [so I’ve been told]. Apple like the conversation they’re currently having. They don’t want it to change, internally or externally. They want to control the means of conversation. I’ve seen branding work. I’ve seen blogging work. My conclusion? Branding is dead. I wrote Now it’s Official, adding It’s just that Apple has a Brand Culture, and Microsoft has … something else. Whatever it is, it’s a lot more blog-friendly. And Hugh, who is more emphatic about these things, went on to drive the Branding is Dead meme.

Technorati Tags: chris+anderson, doc+searls, hugh+macleod, businessbloggingindex, ross+mayfield

Brian Oberkirch | 9:08 am | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging | Bookmark on | Digg It

Blogging Doubles Sales for Winery

Hugh McLeod has a great update post about the progress of his blog marketing campaign for Stormhoek:
Blogging doubled Stormhoek sales in less than twelve months.

So, great ROI, right? But more key is the insight that Hugh offers about how it worked:

I have been saying this for years, and still not everybody believes me: “Blogs are a good way of making things happen indirectly.”

No, bloggers and their friends didn’t start suddenly descending on supermarkets, buying the wine in large numbers. That’s not how it works.

What happened is that by interfacing with the blogosphere, it fundementally changed how Stormhoek looked at treating their primary customers (the supermarket chains) and the end-users (the supermarkets’ customers).

i.e. It caused an internal disruption, both within the company and the actual trade. Wine drinkers’ basic purchasing habits didn’t change because of the meme, but the meme allowed Stormhoek to align itself more closely with said habits.

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Brian Oberkirch | 6:14 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , New PR , Startup | Bookmark on | Digg It

WordPress 2.0 Upgrade

We are in the process of upgrading our blogs to the new version of WordPress - version 2.0.  We just finished with the release in our dev environments and applied it to the SimpleTicket blog.  Over the course of the next few days we will upgrading all of the blogs (please excuse our dust in the meantime). 


Brian Oberkirch | 4:02 pm | No Comments Tags: Blog Hosting , Blogs , Blogging Tools | Bookmark on | Digg It

Feed Icon Standard Catching On…

We will be shifting to the new feed icon standard shortly, when are you going to switch?


Brian Oberkirch | 9:56 pm | 1 Comment Tags: Blogs , Feeds | Bookmark on | Digg It

Globalicious Tag Search

Originally uploaded by mtanne.

Wink is a new search engine that is about to launch to the general public. It combines tradtional search results with a global look at tagged social bookmarked sites. So, now you can easily search across pre-filtered content, which Wink users can reinforce by ‘voting’ on certain stories that match their search terms. The more we all use it, the more we collectively filter the results.
More from Steve Rubel, Mike Arrington, Matt Marshall, & Om.

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Brian Oberkirch | 2:10 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Startup , Blogging Tools | Bookmark on | Digg It

Welcome the Newest LittleBit

Originally uploaded by simplebitsdan.

Our designer pal Dan Cederholm has a new addition — Jack Murphy, born just this past weekend. Welcome to the party, little Jack. Make sure your pages validate, keep it oh so simple, and use that great big heart you’ll inherit from your Dad.

Brian Oberkirch | 12:56 pm | [2] Comments Tags: Blogs Work | Bookmark on | Digg It

Peace of Mind From Blogging?

One of Rex Hammock’s posts today echoes my point yesterday about the LayerOne story:

For me, there’s a peace-of-mind in knowing I have one place where I can tell my story the way I see it — even if it’s not that significant a story. Before blogging, we all had to depend on other people’s platforms to “interpret” our story. If you we’re doing something significant in your community or business, it was the “media” who told our story. If it was something significant to fewer folks, it was the “grapevine” who told our story.

Blogging lets you tell your story, unfettered, uninterrupted, uninterpreted. Of course, it can also be remixed, repointed, reinterpreted, etc., but that’s the joyous to & fro of dialogue. With a blog, you get to play a more major role if you can plus up the conversation.

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Brian Oberkirch | 1:01 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , New PR | Bookmark on | Digg It

Weblogs Work & the Sandbox Idea in Seattle Times

 Wp-Content Images Bij-Home-LightWeblogs Work & M Ventures are featured in an article on Web 2.0 in a piece in yesterday’s Seattle Times — a syndication of an article that ran a few weeks ago in the Star-Telegram. The piece focuses on Alex’s rapid development of elfURL, one of the apps in the Big in Japan toolbox we’re working on. I was able to put in a plug for the sandbox meme (check out Peter Merholz’sDesigning for the Sandbox’ blog):

“Web experiences aren’t things you control so much,” said Brian Oberkirch, chief executive of Weblogs Work, a self-described Web 2.0 company. “It’s more that you create a sandbox people can play in.”

Technorati Tags: alex muse, biginjapan, brian oberkirch, elfurl, mventures, web 2.0, Weblogs Work

Brian Oberkirch | 11:06 am | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , Web 2.0 , Blogs , Startup | Bookmark on | Digg It

Blog As Fact Finding Tool

We were at the Syndicate conference last week talking about the Slidell Hurricane Damage blog. While things have slowed down with that project, it still serves as a unique example of how blogs can be great at both gathering and disseminating information. Here is an email we got just yesterday. It’s from a producer at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, hoping to use the blog as a way to gather inspiring stories about the rebuilding of Slidell.

Hey Brian - been looking at your blog, and my name is Vinny Rutherford & I’m
a producer on the show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on ABC. We’re
currently researching stories regarding the victims of this past hurricane
season and the rebuilding efforts in Texas, Mississippi, New Orleans &
Florida. We’re going to be shooting these 1 hour episodes in Feb., and I’m
part of the team assigned to the New Orleans area.

Our execs feel strongly about using our shows popularity by doing some
projects that will have an impact on the community as a whole like
rebuilding playgrounds, get supplies to schools, rebuilding food ministries,

In addition to that we’re also looking for personal stories and how maybe we
can help individual families in some way. From throwing a wedding that got
cancelled to helping a displaced family who has a member that needs a bone
marrow transplant, right now the range is that wide. By doing all of this
it’s our hope that what is happening down here gets back into the national
news cycle in a positive light and ultimately, get more help from the rest
of the country.

I recently had a meeting at Mt.Olive AME Food Ministry with the Mayor,
Police Chief and other town officials of Slidell. We’re currently
considering doing a project or projects in Slidell and are wondering what
needs the community has and I’d like to hear it from the people themselves
as well.

If you could ask your readers, what they’d like us to do (aside from
building them a house, we’re not doing that on the specials)- do you need
anything that the storm destroyed, etc…are there any personal stories of
heroism, or going above and beyond the call of duty - things of this nature.
Write or give me a call at my New Orleans cell. The more stories I have in
Slidell the better the chance they’ll choose this town to shoot in.

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Brian Oberkirch | 4:39 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Blogs , New PR | Bookmark on | Digg It

Guy Kawasaki To Start Blogging

Cover Start Up guru & evangelism evangelist Guy Kawasaki sent out word that he’s going to start blogging on January 1. We encourage you to watch his site for it. We really dig Guy’s style. You can also participate in a free online seminar on some of Guy’s ideas in a recent book, The Art of the Start:

This is the link for the online seminar for The Art of the Start. It’s
January 4th at 10 am Pacific, not 9 am Pacific.

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Brian Oberkirch | 2:35 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , Blogs , Startup | Bookmark on | Digg It

Shel Closes Out The Blogging Enterprise

Shel Closes Out The Blogging Enterprise

Originally uploaded by Brian Oberkirch.

We got to say hello to Shel Israel again last week at Syndicate. First met him at the Blogging Enterprise conference in Austin, and enjoyed hanging out a bit during the panels. Shel & Robert Scoble wrote the book on corporate blogging, and we’ll have a review of Naked Conversations for you in the next week or so.

Brian Oberkirch | 2:01 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work | Bookmark on | Digg It

LayerOne: the Rest of the Story

Layerone 1
Blogging gives you the power to expand on your own story. You no longer have to be satisfied with the media account, hoping they’ll amend the story, print a retraction, etc. Mark Cuban said he started his blog for just that reason. (And he gives another example of how he felt his comments weren’t accurately portrayed in a New York Times story over the weekend.)

Here’s a more local example. Alex Muse wrote a blog post not too long ago about his biggest failure — his inability to max out the value he was building with his telecom services start-up, LayerOne. Right after he did that post, the Dallas Business Journal named LayerOne’s acquisition by Switch & Data one of the best corporate turnarounds of the year. How could the company be both a failure and a successful turnaround?

For that, you’d need to go back to the TexasVC blog to get the rest of the story. Alex lays out, in self-deprecating detail, how it all really went down. He even apologizes to his first round investors who lost serious money on the deal. The net net, LayerOne went bankrupt after putting $20 million into a growing business that was just starting to take off. They put together a new team to buy the assets for a fraction of that, got a few centers cashflow positive and then sold the business off to Switch & Data for a few million more than the initial investment. Who won? The management and the post-bankruptcy investors. Who lost? The first round investors and the 60+ employees who built LayerOne, but who weren’t around to share in the post-sale windfall. Including one very smart cookie, Catarina Wylie, who hired me to work on the LayerOne launch. I’m glad to have had that rocketboom experience with Cat, Alex & that great team. I’m also proud of Alex for using his own DIY media tools to tell it like it is. Or at least tell his version of things. The great part is, others can come behind and add their own experiences to the story.

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Brian Oberkirch | 1:48 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , Startup | Bookmark on | Digg It

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