Blogs are important marketing tools

Yesterday I posted a short article about a promising software called McNucle that lets you set up your Mac at home as an advanced media server. A couple of hours after I posted it I got an email from Mr. Maarten Bruyninckx of the iNuron team. The people making McNucle:

Hi Eirik,

We noticed you reviewed our software on your blog. We’d like to thank you for taking the time to give our product a go and write about it.

If you have the time, could you tell us a bit more about the problems you had and what didn’t feel intuïtive to you. We’d certainly appreciate that as this kind of feedback is invaluable to us. We know the interface by heart after testing it for hours and hours… A fresh look on things always helps us to look at it from a different point of view.

Thanks again and good luck with your blog,

Maarten Bruyninckx & the iNuron team

This is a win-win-win-win-situation. I immediately think of iNuron as a serious company that listen to their customers. Chances that I remember them is instantly higher because of that mail. Chances that I write about them again (like right now…) is higher. And I will probably give them valuable feedback when I get back to the software and test it again.

I am not the New York Times or CNN, but I have between 800 and 900 subscribers on my RSS feed and thousands of unique visitors each week. If you have a quick look at this blog you will see that the content is mostly about media technologies and internet services. So, the people hanging out around here is probably pretty interesting for a company selling media server software.

And even better, the prize of that mail was a couple of minutes worth of writing. Cheap, effective and non-intrusive marketing if you ask me.

Some examples

I have experienced this a couple of times during my years as a blogger. Tim Cutting of Niveus media that immediately answered my pretty bad review of their remote control. Gibu Thomas of Sharpcast commenting on my review and communicating with my readers. Lucas of AmieStreet really listening and discussing their product and possible improvements on my blog. And other small signs of attention like Mary-Louise that works for Guy Kawasaki commenting and the quick “Thanks” from Jeff Jarvis.

And how do they do it?

Here are two (of many) solutions:

1. Follow the logs of your own web site. Look at the referrers. Suddenly you see that you have some traffic coming in from a strange place called eirikso.com or something similar. Check it out. If it’s a blog or a forum consider leaving a comment.

2. Subscribe to a search with your company and product names. Two places to do that could be Technorati or Feedster. Learn how to use an RSS reader and add a search feed. For the guys from iNuron this search at Feedster will always keep them up to date on blogs mentioning their product. Or this one at Technorati.

For corporate people that only check their email it is also easy to add such a feed to Outlook or run it through another service that can give you an email alert.

If more people knew this maybe companies like Lefdal would have commented on this one etc…

Now you have no excuse. Join the conversation.

Blogs are important marketing tools

Blogres 2007 – Presentation and images

Village

Yes, all the images and my presentation is online. Here’s the short story:

I just returned from a very nice weekend in Ljubljana where I was the keynote speaker at Blogres 2007. A very successful Slovenian conference on blogging. Huge amounts of credit to Renderspace for the arrangement and the hospitality and the aucience for interesting discussions.

I go to a lot of conferences and very often they are influenced by the fact that people send senior workers and leaders to them because they have been with the company for a long time and deserve a trip to a conference. At Blogres 2007 it was a young, interested and enthusiastic audience. Mostly Slovenian bloggers, but also representatives from different companies and Slovenian media. I was also interviewed by Slovenian national TV and a Slovenian magasine. I’ll get back to that if I manage to dig up some links.

After my keynote speech I also attended Nicolas Fermont’s interesting presentation about creating a snowboard community and Michael Manske’s funny and oh-so-familiar presentation about how foreign media cover Slovenia. I am from a small country myself and could really understand the frustration.

In general I found Ljubljana a very nice place to visit. Slovenians seem more organized than the Italians and less eastern european than the Croatians (and don’t get me wrong, I really like both Italians and Croatians as well).

Glasses, bottle, glass

People in Ljubljana in general speaks very good english, they have excellent (and for a Norwegian very cheap) food and beverages.

RGB

Slovenia is even smaller than Norway regarding population. They’re about 2 million and we’re about 4.5 million. But there are a lot of similarities. I could understand a lot of the challenges regarding what you face when you’re small country with a small language and your own very special culture.

Communicating

And, Slovenia is nearly as high tech as Scandinavia. More than 1.7 million mobile phones and pretty good coverage of broadband.

Going down

And of course I shouldn’t forget arts and nice architecture…

I have published my presentation on SlideShare with links to relevant articles.

https://s3.amazonaws.com:443/slideshare/ssplayer.swf?id=62732&doc=blogres20073487

I also snapped a lot of images. Some from the conference and quite a bit from the city of Ljubljana. You find the complete Flickr set here.

The party

I am verry sorry for the fact that I took the good weather to Norway when I left. I had a fantastic weather during my stay, but it started raining the second I entered the taxi to the airport.

Leaving

But don’t be afraid. I’ll come back to Slovenia. That’s for sure!

Blogres 2007 – Presentation and images

How to deal with trolls

Troll

A troll is a fearsome member of a mythical anthropomorph race from Scandinavia. Their role ranges from fiendish giants – similar to the ogres of England (also called Trolls at times, see Troller’s Gill) – to a devious, more human-like folk of the wilderness, living underground in hills, caves or mounds. In Orkney and Shetland tales, trolls are called trows, adopted from the Norse language when these islands were settled by Vikings.

Wikipedia on trolls

Because I’m from Norway I grew up with stories about trolls. From the really bad ones to the more or less cosy ones. It’s a part of our culture. So for a Norwegian it’s interesting that this word is also used about the irritating people that comment on your blog, replies to forum threads and in general use the internet simply because they want to say bad things. The internet trolls:

In Internet terminology, a troll is someone who intentionally posts derogatory or otherwise inflammatory messages about sensitive topics in an established online community such as an online discussion forum to bait users into responding

There are a lot of different trolls out there. I don’t have many of them here at eirikso.com. I’ve met them during discussions at Digg.com and various forums. Usually I stop them with two very different approaches.

1. Some of them can be stopped or made more serious by confronting them. By simply joining the conversation. Those are the ones that post a comment on my blog simply saying that I am an idiot because I forgot a detail or whatever. Very often they can be turned into intelligent and contributing people by simply answering. If you join the conversation they tend to stop or they come back with a more serious comment. Often with an apology related to their first comment.

2. But you also have the trolls that simply want a fight. The best way to silence them is to not take the bait. Silence will stop them. Of course it is difficult to know wich ones that will come back with a more serious response and wich ones that will love the fact that you answered and come back with even worse comments.

Cory doctorow has an interesting article about internet trolls over at information week:

You can deal with trolls in many ways. Many trolls are perfectly nice in real life — sometimes, just calling them on the phone and confronting them with the human being at the other end of their attacks is enough to sober them up. But it doesn’t always work: I remember one time I challenged someone who’d been sending me hate mail to call me up and say the words aloud: the phone rang a moment later and the first words out of my troll’s mouth were, “You f*cking hypocrite!” The conversation declined from there.

(Via Thomas Hawk, image from Garder Troll)

How to deal with trolls

Some good resources on new media

I was recently interviewed for Telenor’s business magasine “Trigger” and was asked to give some good resources and blogs on new media and this whole Web 2.0 thing. Here is what I came up with. It’s not compele and I am sure I have forgotten some very important sites. Feel free to add your faves in the comments:

First of all, you should follow this blog. I will continue to publish thoughts on new media and the things I find interesting here on eirikso.com.

Then you should start following my shared items from google reader. It’s the articles that I find interesting enough to share with my audience. Hours of blog reading filtered and shared!

Then, more or less from the top of my current list of blogs in my feed reader:

TechCrunch
For startups and Web 2.0. Essential!

Buzzmachine.com
Jeff Jarvis comments on citizen journalism and new media. High quality!

Micro Persuasion
Steve Rubel on how the internet change marketing and PR.

NewTeeVee
New media and the whole new media scene. From Om Malik’s blog empire.

BoingBoing.net
Subculture, technology and everything trendy. “A directory of wonderful things.”

Seth Godin
Essential about marketing and change.

Brilliantdays
Oyvind Solstad on new media, Macs and getting things done.

Tversover (Norwegian)
Applied Abstractions (English)
Dr. Espen Andersen on technology, business and new media.

Thomas Hawk’s digital connection
Photo, new media, media centers and the works.

Now you should learn how to use Technorati.

Here is an example. Do a search for the big Norwegian oil company called “Statoil”. Instantly you have all the recent blog posts mentioning this company. Then learn how to use an RSS feed reader like Google Reader or Bloglines. Or, start using Netvibes or Google IG as your start page. Now put that search in with you feeds and get instant notifications when a blog mention your company.

You find the feed for the search up to the right on the Technorati search result page marked “Subscribe”.

As mentioned, feel free to add your own favourites in the comments.

Some good resources on new media

Track all your conversations

This is something that I have wanted for a long time. A tool to easily track all the conversations I am participating in around the net.

Usually, I leave a comment and keep that page in a tab in my browser, or mark the page with a “followup” tag in del.icio.us. None of these methods are perfect. Here on eirikso.com I have installed a plugin that lets you choose if you want to be notified by email when people posts a new comment on an article that you have commented on.

You won’t need any of this if you start to use coComment. From their page:

Join the conversation
Track your comments across different platforms (blogs, forums, online communities…), and follow conversations you’re interested in, no need for your own blog!

Track
coComment keeps track of all the online conversations you’re following in one convenient place, and informs you whenever something is added to a conversation.

Share
Publish your conversations to your blog in a click, or send them to your friends via email.

Explore
Check out the top commenters, what articles and posts are generating the most comments, who’s commenting on the same conversations as you.

My experience so far is very positive. Try it out!

Track all your conversations

Stealing an image of a kid

Apparently I nearly killed a reader through pure boredom with my last post, so I hope this stuff is slightly more interesting.

A couple of weeks ago my father-in-law calls me wondering if I have started selling pictures of his grandchildren to commercials. He is talking about a picture of his grandson listening to an iPod. Used in an advertisement in a magazine he just received.

I haven’t sold any pictures of my son to commercials, so I was quite interested in this. As you can see from the picture that I have inserted above, my father-in-law had reason to believe that I was selling images to commercials.

The image is available through this article. And available for sale for editorial use over at shutterpoint. I am selling images both for editorial use and for use in commercials. Any images that include family members are only available for editorial use. The people responsible for this ad have not bought any pictures from me. And this particular picture isn’t even available with a license that would allow use in an advertisement.

Here at eirikso.com it is protected by the simple fact that this image is my intellectual property. Eirikso.com is also marked with a Creative Commons license. Giving people freedom to use my work for non-commercial purposes as long as they give me credit and issue the same Creative Commons license on the work that includes mine.

So what do we have here?
Commercial use of my image in an advertisement. And by the way, no image credit. These people have to follow Norwegian law. This use of my image is a violation to paragraph 1 in the norwegian copyright act. It is a screaming obvious theft of intellectual property.

In addition to this, it is a violation to paragraph 45 c. Use of an image where a person is clearly visible. They need permission from the person in the picture.

At this point I have sent a letter to the shop that is responsible for the advertisement. Asking for a full report on where this image have been used. They have simply forwarded this to their lawyer.

I have made it clear in my letter that this is something that is of interest for my readers and that I will publish articles on this matter. I am awaiting an answer and will of course keep you updated on this!

Stealing an image of a kid