Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Faker Faker

In the wonderful world of social media in NZ over the last few days, a good old fashioned witch hunt has been-a-brewing.

I'm not going to spend anytime thrashing out the details or linking to the 'stories' rather, I am going to talk about how we got to this position.

It all started last week when 'Status People' faker score percentages started popping up in the twitter feed. I'm not going to lie, I was curious too, so I looked into my account:

According to Status People I have 2% Fake (with 1,024 followers, that is approx 24 followers) 10% inactive (102 followers) and 88% good (819 followers). I kind of looked at the numbers, thought about the number of my 'followers' who I remove/block when they're blatantly spam, and thought, yeah, probably about right. At this point I forgot about it.

After not opening up my tweetdeck for most of the day yesterday, when I did in the afternoon, it was filled with Status People fake number tweets. Fair enough, I was curious too, but I did find it amusing, boasting about the few 'fake' followers they have (or not as the case may be).

So the witch hunt (this is what I have referred to it as) has spawned from someone trawling 'Social Media' people on Twitter and reporting their 'fake' percentages. Can we all just stop for a second and think about why someone might do that? They were looking for a scandal, something to take someone else down. I mean, come on! That's kind of sad.

Moving on... I started to question exactly how accurate this 'fake finder' was. I think it was @tomosborne who mentioned (to someone else) that Twitblock to find and purge spam followers. So that is what I did:

This reported that 18 of my followers were 44% or more likely to be spam. 2 of the handles listed are certainly not spam, 1 is a friend and 1 is for NZ's new Shopping Channel? So, 16 of 1,024 is 1.6%, which matches what the Status People numbers said. Sweet I thought, let's run the numbers again. Now, stupidly I didn't screen shot the time, but, post spam cull, my numbers were exactly the same:

Which says to me, this is a bit of a crock. I culled my 2%, yet it's still there.

If you actually look into the working behind these Faker Scores you would read:

"We take a sample of your follower data. Up to 500 records depending on how 'popular' you are and assess them against a number of simple spam criteria...

For those of you with 10,000 followers or less we believe our tool will provide a very accurate insight into how many inactive and fake followers you have.
If you're very 'popular' the tool will still provide good insight but may better reflect your current follower activity rather than your whole follower base."

The way I read this is, in actual fact, if you have over 500 followers, it is probably not going to be a very accurate reflection of your followers. If you have over 10k even less so. Perhaps we should be questioning the credibility of the tool rather than the people it's used against?

I understand that we only have the tools available to us, but this is certainly not a source I will be quoting. Similar to Klout, I feel as though this is just another tool that will be thrown around as and when it benefits the user.

I ask 2 things of anyone who decides to read this far:

1. Can we PLEASE question the information that is presented to us - in all aspects of our lives and; 
2. If you allow any of these 'apps' to access your twitter account, revoke the access once you're done. You will find it located under your settings. I highly recommend revoking anything you don't need.

Interestingly I have tried to run the Faker Scores just now, and now no data returns, even though I gave access again. Strange.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Its New Season Launch Time Again

That's right, it's that time again. New Season launch. Time to look at what are the programmers hanging their hats on this year.

As I tend to be quite negative on this blog, I've decided for this entry to change tack, and explain what I'm looking forward to.

First up, TV3.

Even though it was early, the TV3 Launch was great. Paul Henry MC'ed and dare I say it, he was quite charming. I'm sure most people enjoyed the digs at his previous employer and he really held the audience. I really enjoyed how Kelly took us through the entire schedule programme by programme basically, which meant I walked away from the presentation with a really good grasp of what they are going to be airing next year.

Highlights for me (and please note - these are NOT necessarily what I think will rate. They're the programmes that I will be watching)

  • The New Girl. Yes, it's on FOUR . I hope they promo the hell out of it. It's an adorable series. 
  • American Horror Story. Not sure how NZ will react to this, but it looks incredible and has an amazing cast.
  • Homeland. Clare Danes doesn't usually do it for me, but this series looks interesting.
And of course their awesome returning series
  • The Secret Lives of Dancers
  • The Good Wife
  • Californication
  • The Big C
Next was TVNZ.

I found the TVNZ launch a little too much. PUTs are down, rates are up, they're making our clients pay more and more and more for less and less ratings so they spend what must have been quite a substantial amount of money on a very flashy presentation. Let's not start on the fact that they flew up the Wellington and Chch media people and put them up for the night ontop of all of the glitz. Mostly because I am glad they did - was a wonderful chance to catch up with old friends.

Paul Maher spoke well, but I thought it was a real shame that the 'Johns' did pieces to camera rather than speaking live. Lacked that kind of 'real' touch and I felt like they spoke more about the shows than actually showing us the programmes. Following far too many drinks, run-ins with arrogant Shortland St cast members and inappropriate grabbing from actors of other local shows, I walked away not really knowing what TVNZ were putting up next year. Which is a shame. 

Following some further investigation, this is what I'm looking forward to:
  • Keep Calm & Carry On (Jacquie Brown)
  • Seven Dwarves. Which looks a little like a Dwarf version of Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
  • Once Upon a Time. Appeals to the geek in me
Finally, the Prime launch was yesterday.

The Launch itself was wonderful. High Tea at the Langham. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon. As usual Karen and Kathy were a joy to listen to as they took their little digs at the big boys in the market. They also addressed something I was concerned about, how SOHO might affect their deal with HBO - it would seem it will only strengthen their offer, which is great news.

Things to look forward to on Prime (according to me):
  • Wild Boys - Australian series, looks great
  • True Blood
  • QI
  • Boardwalk Empire (after screening on Soho)
  • Junior Masterchef
Prime seems to have picked up a number of the British Dramas that I would have expected to see on One a few years ago. I really hope the audience finds Prime's programming as it's really good quality stuff.

So there you go. My thoughts on new programmes this year. I think it's a shame that no one seems to have picked up Wilfred which is pretty genius. But there you go. Find a way around S92a and torrent that sucker.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Seriously Sour Taste

This week was meant to be great. I had so much sleep on the weekend, I was really looking forward to this week.

I made a mistake. I had a meeting with Yellow yesterday. There was no way that this week was going to be good.

I cannot get over the way Yellow are trying to hold their own customers to ransom over their website.

I have a lovely client, with distributors nationwide, who have advertised in the Yellow books for years. Now that yellow have finally started to sort their website out so that it actually works (sort of) they are finding ways to milk their customers for every penny they can. Including my clients.

Now, before I really get into this, let's have a little chat about what Yellow is. Yellow is a directory. It is a whole lot of business listings. That is all. Yellow have something of a monopoly on this game. 

So what's got my back up?

Unlike Google which obviously separates organic from paid results, Yellow have set up their system where the user is ONLY delivered paid search results, well, at least for the first few pages. But it doesn't differentiate in a way that is obvious to the consumer. When asked what user feedback there had been about this priority ranking, there was no real answer, just, "I'm sure we have that kind of information somewhere". 

Gold, Silver and Bronze listings is where Yellow is at. If you have a free listing, you can end up on the 3rd or 4th page of results depending on the category. Then, there are category sponsorship opportunities. 3 listings which sit above the gold listing. So, advertisers have to pay to have a gold listing and THEN have to fork out more to sponsor the category or they'll be pushed down the results even further.

Next I'm told, that because my client has a 'free' listing (because they spend bucket loads on the books and not online) this means that their DIRECT competitors have the ability to advertise on THEIR listing unless they upgrade their listing.

Are you kidding me? Talk about holding their own customers to ransom.

When I had a gripe on Twitter about this, I had a number of responses also voicing their displeasure with Yellow. 

  • Trying to teach agency people what 'SEO' means 
  • Giving less than 2 days notice to turn material around 
  • Incorrect listings under wrong titles 
  • Updating free listings over the phone and 'up-selling' to include a URL but neglecting to mention that website inclusion comes with a $120 pricetag (in this instance) 
  • Their "insanely over-priced ratecard

Now, I'm yet to see their ratecard, but I am incredibly unimpressed anyway. I know I don't give Yellow a lot of love on here, but in real life my clients do. When I told the rep I wasn't feeling the love, I was told that I could use my clients Yellow 'rewards' - interestingly these hadn't come up earlier - to reduce the cost of the print so that I could shift that budget to online (I can't use my rewards online, only in print). My rep was also very quick to point out that online commission is 20% while the books only 10.5% so it would be better for me. 

Are you for reals?

I'm so over this, that I can't even be bothered writing about this anymore. If I could, I would talk about why they are revenue gathering to get out of their $1.05B debt, that perhaps they should just pull back on their awful advertising campaigns instead and that their business is becoming more and more redundant so it doesn't surprise me that they're scrambling for money, but I don't have the energy.

Use your head people. Yellow give search results which are based purely on $. They are not delivering the best result for you or your potential customers. Don't give Yellow money for online, spend it on adwords and improving the SEO on your websites. This makes more sense. When was the last time you heard someone say "why don't you Yellow it?"

EDIT: The wonderful Anthony Gardiner has created a poll about Yellow Directories on Facebook if you feel the need to vote.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nice Package

It's been a while since I last saw some packaging that I really liked, so nice to come across Vitamin Gum.

This is a promo pack, but the gist is, it is sugarfree gum which also has vitamins A, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, D & E.

How cool is that? Sugarfree gum with vitamins. 

Clever tag lines.

Pretty visuals

 and bold branding on the actual product

anyway, go and like their facebook and get some gum sent to you.

Go Vitamin Gum - your branding is rad and the gum is tasty too!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Yay Maori TV

Clever advertising is the best kind of advertising. 

I find TV Network advertising a little lackluster usually. FOUR's 'The Home of Not Rugby' isn't bad, but generally TVNZ and Mediaworks is very traditional and BORING.

Draft FCB have done some pretty awesome things for various shows on Prime. The bag of Weed on a billboard for WEEDS; The branded brown bottle bags for Boardwalk Empire; the 'stake' street posters (if that is what you can call them) for True Blood; and of course the falling man on the building for Mad Men. However, I haven't seen anything recently and to be honest, considering how badly most of those shows rate, perhaps the 'clever' (read: Award Entry) route should be dropped till the advertising starts working??

At any rate, today I saw some BRILLIANT work for Maori TV. There I am in Countdown Richmond Road and I walk past this:
FARKING awesome. Maori TV have been pulling some nice numbers ratings-wise since the commencement of RWC. I hope they managed to promo the living daylights out of BOY at the same time and that it did well last night for them.

So cute, so clever. I hope these were up in all Countdown's around NZ. All supermarkets even. Perfect.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Naff off Localist

I've never been shy about my dislike of Yellow. And Yellow Locals is, in my opinion, a waste of time and money (yet again) which should have been spent on their website.

Anyway, this is not about Yellow, it's about Localist. Yes. NZ Post's own little directory. I have issues with Localist too - their Auckland directories (all 4 or 5 of them) are scheduled to be published TWICE a year and they wouldn't bundle the advertising across all directories; So if you are a regional advertiser rather than a local advertiser, there were no economies of scale for advertising across all 4/5 books. Granted, they may have changed this, but I wouldn't know as the rep hasn't been in since I told him I thought it was a waste of time for my client.

Anyway, that is not what got my back up. Below is what has got me miffed:

Someone asked me to log in and vote for their friend for something and when I saw I could log in with my twitter (or FB or 4square) I thought, "that's pretty rad! Makes life easy. OK, I'll sign in with Twitter!"

Ha! No I freaking won't! Apparently...

This application will be able to:

  • Read Tweets from your timeline (okay, not so bad)
  • See who you follow, and follow new people (I'm hoping when they say 'follow new people they mean them and not me?!?)
  • Update your profile (You're going to be able to do WHAT!?)
  • Post tweets for you (No. No you crazy MF. You will not be posting tweets for me.)
Before you start with 'Monica, you're such an idiot, it just means that they can post one of those "@iChild likes Localist" type tweets' I get that that is probably the case, but it's not specific. If it said, 'Post tweets for you with your permission' I'd be OK with that, but, especially with all the privacy issues going on with FB at the moment, there is no way I am opening up my communication channels any more than I already have.

You crazy Localist. This has just confirmed to me that I want nothing to with this organisation. Protect your accounts people! Remember than you can remove application permissions. Log in to Twitter, go:
Settings > Applications. You might be surprised what's lurking in there.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Client sign-off crucial

This is one of those times that you go "that sucks - bet you wish you had client sign off before you made that decision huh?"

So yesterday I was away sick and an email arrived in my inbox about a survey. All good - I like providing feedback. So while I was eating my lunch today, I decided to do the survey, only to think it was a little strange that the screen I landed on had 'Your Progress 100%'.

For those who can't be bothered clicking to enlarge, it reads:
"Survey recall 

The Seed was commissioned recently by Adshel to run an online survey, assessing the opinions of media agencies and clients.

The survey was intended to be an anonymous survey, but unfortunately, due to an error in execution by The Seed, Adshel's identity was revealed which could compromise the findings.

In discussion with Adshel, we have therefore agreed to recall the survey and will not be proceeding with this research.

Please therefore disregard the message sent yesterday.

For anyone who has already completed the survey, The Seed will honour its commitment to the prize draw and will inform those who were successful in due course."

Stink huh? Shows the importance of ALWAYS getting client sign off on everything - unless AdShel did and then later went, 'hang on... crap'.

This has effectively killed the research for AdShel (as now any survey's about Outdoor will have an immediate association with AdShel, even if they change companies) and The Seed have lost the income from the contract with AdShel.

Hard lesson. Remember: Always get clients to sign everything off in writing. (That way you have proof that they're wrong.)