Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Optimizing Email Open Rates — Subject Lines

February 11, 2014

E-mailLike everyone, I get quite a few promotional emails but only read a small percentage of them. Obviously the subject line is a critical component of what I decide to open. Besides my own biases, I poked around the net and came up with a few guidelines for writing effective subject lines:

  • Short (50 characters or preferably less)
  • DON’T SOUND SALESY! (AVOID ALL CAPS, TYPOS, AND !!!!)
  • Avoid these words: Help, Percent off, and Reminder
  • State what the email is about, don’t try and sell, and use benefits of the product / service.
  • Asking questions where the answer is “yes” can be effective
  • A/B test to create your own rules for your own audience

More information here.

Useful Guide to Startup Marketing

January 8, 2014

Shocking: AOL Kills Off Buggy AOL Video

December 19, 2008

Dear AOL Video Uploads User,

As we’ve written to you previously, the AOL Video Uploads site has now been shut down and videos stored on the site are no longer available for watching, editing, deleting or transfer. 

Our records show that you had uploaded videos to the site. While the AOL Video Uploads site is no longer available, we have made your videos available to be transferred to Motionbox.com for a limited time. Learn more at Motionbox

Motionbox is a free service that makes it easy to upload, store and share personal videos.Motionbox supports all of the features you’ve come to expect from AOL Video, and offers some additional benefits we think you’ll enjoy. 

We appreciate you being an AOL Video Uploads user, and we hope this transition hasn’t caused you an inconvenience.

Flip Video users: If you own a Flip Video camcorder, you will be able to continue to share videos using AOL Video for a limited time. To ensure the continuation of your video sharing experience, we recommend you download new software for your Flip Video camcorder.Download latest software (free update).

Sincerely,

AOL Video Uploads Team 

 

********

I can’t say I’m surprised.

I made USA Today!

July 24, 2008

Okay, not the greatest quote of all time but at least it was picked up:

“All Steve has to do is show up, prove he is in fact the real Steve Bartman — not some earphone-wearing imposter — and he’ll move to the top of the autograph value list,” said Wesley Hein, CEO of SportsBuy.com.

Remember there is no such thing as bad press.

Here’s the back story.

Self Portrait in La Jolla

July 13, 2008
 

Self Portrait in La Jolla, originally uploaded by wesley.hein.

Okay. I’ve been very late to the Flickr party. I did use Flickr two years ago and it was a useful place to host photos that I dropped into blogs. But I didn’t see it for much more than that. I’ve recently come back because I want to see their integration tools and so far I’m pretty impressed. This is a test of one click to blog post.

Six Month Update; Knee Pain Leads to CEO Job and Swimming Focus

June 22, 2008

Ironman Arizona

Blogs are supposed to be updated far more frequently than every six months but this has been everything but a normal period for me. First off, I had more or less cleared off enough work responsibilities to be able to train as much as I wanted/needed for Ironman China. And that is exactly what I was starting to do. The runs were getting longer as were the rides. What I didn’t count on was a knee problem derailing the entire trip. Some time in November I got a twinge in my left knee, that twinge worsened and after several visits to several doctors (plus MRI and 2 months of Physical Therapy) I was officially out of the race.

Funny how things turn out however, especially when it comes to filling a void. First, in terms of athletics I had a huge void to fill because I can no longer run or bike (at least for the present). The good news is however is that 2008 seems to be the year that open water swimming is hitting stride. It has been easy for me to find open water races to do and people to train with them. I’ve even joined an open water swimming club on Facebook. Mind you that I still miss running but having a series of swimming races to train for has really helped soften what would otherwise be driving me crazy.

The other thing that happened is that I became CEO of SportsBuy.com (formerly Naxcom Exchange). I had been consulting for them for a few months and my friends know that one of the reasons I like to consult is so that I was able to swim/bike/run more or less as much as I liked. But once I crossed over to the dark side of having real responsibilities, it was no longer just a matter of getting a job done but of being in an office more or less full time. (Link to press release).

While LifeTwo.com is certainly a full-time job in itself, I have always been able to do that on nights and weekends and that will continue. I have benefited greatly from the hands-on work that I do with LifeTwo and that is especially relevant to my new gig which involves bringing social networking/web 2.0 to the sports collectibles industry. For example, check out the SportsBuy events blog that I just pulled together to help publicize the company’s autograph signings and trade show events.

Using Wikipedia to announce your murder-suicide

June 28, 2007

chris_benoit.jpg

This story is just bizarre and reminds me how serial killers used to tease the police by sending tapes to the media. Evidentially with the advent of Web 2.0, traditional media is an unnecessary middle man effectively being distermediated (of course this has been going on for awhile with the all-too-common beheading videos from the middle east working their way around various web sites). In case you haven’t heard, someone modified Chris Benoit’s Wikipedia page about his wife’s death before the police found the body. From Wired:

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard about the double homicide and suicide of WWE pro wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife, and their seven-year old son. Well, a new twist has revealed itself, within the pages of Wikipedia.

According to FoxNews, someone updated Chris Benoit’s Wikipedia page, with an entry on his wife’s death. Problem is, it was posted 13 hours before the police found the three bodies in Atlanta.

An anonymous user operating a computer traced to Stamford, Conn. — home to World Wrestling Entertainment — posted an entry to pro wrestler Chris Benoit’s biography on Wikipedia.org announcing the death of his wife Nancy at least 13 hours before police in suburban Atlanta said they found her body along with her husband’s and that of their 7-year-old son, FOXNews.com has learned.Employees at Wikipedia.org said the posting went live on their site on Monday at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Police, however, said they found the bodies Monday at 2:30 p.m. EDT.

To make the whole situation even stranger, the entry was taken off an hour after it was posted requiring that the user site news sources. An hour later the entry was edited again, this time through an Australian wireless provider, “which according to several pro wrestling websites is attributed to the passing of Benoit’s wife, Nancy.” Again the entry was removed asking for a valid news source. This all happened hours before police even got to the house.

This brings up so many issues which I will refrain from musing on until more comes out on the story. Suffice to say if you are ever editing Wikipedia and come across something that hasn’t yet happened you should think twice before freezing it pending the source being cited. It’s possible that the “source” is the perpetrator.

Update: We’ll the simplest  answer is often the correct one as it was here. The Wikipedia poster has come forward and was nothing more than a fan posting a rumor he had been hearing. Story here. We’ll have to wait for another time to see if someone creates or modifies a Wikipedia entry to ensure that their act is presented in what they consider to be the proper manner.

Creating a company logo

May 25, 2007

lifetwo_logo_bg_trans.png

Among the many requirements for launching a new company, one of the more fun and frustrating ones is coming up with a logo for your start-up. This is an area where everyone seems to have an opinion and in my opinion much too much effort is put into the early logo at the expense of more pressing issues. (It reminded me of my days in the record business when bands would come in and start arguing in front of the company over what the album cover should be and this would be prior to it even being recorded–note that this typically only happened on debut albums after which bands who make it through the walk of fire to get a follow-up album were generally pretty savvy).

Anyway I think it’s human nature to want to have input in the logo so I generally just accept that there are going to be a lot of opinions to factor into the logo decision. In response I just try and make the process as easy as possible by having as many examples as possible laid out in front of everyone. I do this so people are not at a loss for words trying to describe what they have in their minds with everyone visualizing something completely different.

More importantly, looking at a large collection of logos allows people to quickly see trends that and conventions that are overused such as colors (light blue anyone?) or certain icons (e.g., clouds or talk bubbles). It also allows the group to zero in on attributes they like and don’t like so that the graphic artist (who is often the girlfriend or wife of one of the founders) has something concrete to go on.

Three good links (at least at the time of this writing) for logo collections are:

The Font Feed

Flickr Collection of Web 2.0 logos

Web2Logo.com

This is how we came up with the LifeTwo logo above. In our case it wasn’t a wife or girlfriend doing the logo but a very accomplished print design shop that was doing us a big favor. As such we wanted to be as judicious as possible with our use of their time so we looked at the logos linked above, wrote out what we liked and didn’t like in a logo, picked colors we thought would work and gave a general description of the audience we were going after. They came back with 6 possible logos one of which we liked quite a bit. We asked for one round of variations on that (made the circle a little bigger and changed colors) and we had our logo. Is it the logo that we will have for the rest of our company’s life? Doubtful, but we got a very good logo at minimal cost and allowed us to focus on the more pressing needs of the time.

Good luck and remember you can still have an awesome company with an average logo. If you don’t believe me just follow those links and judge for yourself.

Evidence of a Web 2.0 Bubble: ‘hot or not’ for pets

July 25, 2006

The very existence of Pikapet is evidence of just a little bit too much 2.0 going around. Dogs and cats have their own profile pages and visitors can vote for them in a ‘hot or not’ fashion.

pikapet.jpg

image library

October 1, 2001

caveman.jpg


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