The 5 Most Psychotic Marketing Campaigns
August 8, 2013

We have TiVos, ad blockers and the highly refined ability to simply not care, so advertisers really have to get creative if they want to get our attention these days. And what gets your attention more than threatening, scaring and emotionally traumatizing you for life? Well, they say no press is bad press. See, after listening to you sobbing and ranting about the ghost in the mirror, the man with the rifle or the police hunting you through a crowded airport, your psychiatrist will inevitably ask you what product caused all this pain, and then boom: mission accomplished.

Facebook Working on Incorporating the Hashtag
March 18, 2013

Facebook is taking its business rivalry with Twitter into the realm of symbols: #Feud. Facebook is working on incorporating the hashtag, one of Twitter's most iconic markers, into its service by using the symbol as a way to group conversations, said people familiar with the matter. It's unclear how far along Facebook's work on the hashtag is and the feature isn't likely to be introduced imminently, these people said.

Why Americans Can't, Don't and Won't Read
June 22, 2010

I was suckered into opening Jay Malik’s e-mail. His subject line was “Back From the Dead.” I did not recognize the name Jay Malik, but that subject line indicated that he was someone coming back into my life after many years. I took the bait.

What I got was a dense, boring 400-word lecture on the history of the death tax with a salutation, “Hi!” and one benefit: “We save you more in taxes than you invest in our fees.”

I am illustrating the complete Jay Malik e-mail as a textbook example of why most businesspeople should hire professional writers when they feel they have something to say.

At the same time, here is a textbook example of the arrant idiocy of using the Internet as a marketing medium to strangers. Quite simply, it is so cheap to send outgoing messages that if you get two orders per million, it is considered a success. Meanwhile the sender has wasted the time of—and pissed off—the 9,999,998 other recipients and cost $20,000 in lost productivity.

Why is it that Americans can’t, don’t and won’t read?

Our brains are rewired.

Our time and productivity are being hijacked by amateurs.

Panic Cost Cutting
October 28, 2008

For some time, I've followed the spate of newspapers planning to fire the Associated Press and getting their news elsewhere, thank you very much. Papers planning to opt out:

Aug. 20, 2008: The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, the Yakima Herald-Republic and The Wenatchee World—all in Washington state—and The Bakersfield Californian.

Aug. 28, 2008: Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Oct. 16, 2008: The Tribune Co. (Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Fort Lauderdale's Sun Sentinel, the Orlando Sentinel, Red Eye of Chicago, Hartford Courant, the Baltimore Sun, The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa. and the Daily Press of Newport News, Va.).

Yes, newspapers are taking a beating as a result of the lousy economy and, more importantly, advertisers migrating from print to digital. "The decline in [the top 25] newspapers' paid circulation is accelerating, according to new statistics today from the Audit Bureau of Circulations" wrote Nat Ives in this morning. "Papers' average weekday paid circulation fell to 38.2 million copies across the six months ending Sept. 30, down 4.64% from the equivalent period a year earlier. That's a faster fall than was seen this time last year, when the audit bureau reported just a 2.6% decline."

But is it smart for a newspaper (or any business for that matter) to commit hara-kiri—disemboweling itself in the scramble for savings?

Clemens v. McNamee: Who’s Lying?
February 21, 2008

In 60 years of watching television, I never saw anything like it. At one end of the witness table facing the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sat perhaps the greatest pitcher in baseball history, Roger Clemens, winner of seven Cy Young Awards. With short haircut and dressed in a conservative blue suit and rust-colored tie, Clemens was articulate, forceful, and sounding wounded and angry. At the other end of the table was sports trainer Brian McNamee: thin, with small eyeglasses, small mouth and projecting thin chin. He answered the questions from Congress in a monotone. It was a contentious, nasty hearing. At

AOL?The New Spam/Scam Playpen
March 7, 2006

E-Postage and the Fleecing of 30 Million AOL Members March 7, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 18 IN THE NEWS AOL to pay e-mail tab for nonprofits America Online intends to pick up the costs for nonprofit groups that wish to send e-mails to AOL members, a move that comes less than a week after a consortium spoke out against the company's plan to charge for a new bulk e-mail service. Dulles, Va.-based AOL said Friday that it will offer nonprofit organizations two new free e-mail options that possess many of the features, including images and Web links, of the company's premium