Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Copyright applies to Facebook, too

Facebook's game Scrabulous was taken off line today because the originators of a very too similar game called Scrabble sued them. Scrabulous, they said, is a knock off. Here's the Associated Press story I saw in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Why not Scramble, or Word Twist? Those have been the bane of my limited computer fun time existence. On second thought, oh please don't anyone have a similar game before that they might have copied. I love them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Man who taught us how to live died today

My photojournalist friend Amber McCloskey sent me an e-mail early this morning that Randy Pausch, the guy who wrote The Last Lecture, based on his life lessons for his children died early this morning. More on MSNBC. Check out my earlier post here.

For the video of the "last lecture" he gave his students at Carnegie Mellon University about living a good life, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Should have known better: Don't alter a man's brand at least without his permission!

Rapper 50 Cent is suing Taco Bell after his lawyer said the restaurant used his image in a print ad without permission AND asked him to change his name to 79 Cent, 89 Cent , or 99 Cent. They're promoting their menu items for under a dollar. The Associated Press said the rapper heard about the ad through a news report. He's suing for $4 million. I saw this story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution this morning.
Here's what Taco Bell might have heard after talking to a few more people before pursuing this ad campaign:
- Don't you pay people for endorsements? Using his image counts.
- What would 50 Cent think if he saw this ad? Someone is always watching. Clipping services and online and print make a good business of finding articles and ads for companies for their marketing books. And if a couple of guys in the United Kingdom see my small, new blog and comment on it, don't you think somebody's going tell 50 Cent about a newspaper ad they saw? Like a lawyer or someone who might see this as a business opportunity for them.
- A lot of thought goes into creating a name that is your brand, your identity among the public and it's basically your livelihood. Many news makers still believe that just so their names are spelled right, they don't care about bad publicity. To ask someone to change his name for even a day can be seen as insulting, especially in an advertisement. Do you want to make a friend out of 50 Cent for the future or tick him off?
-Are you sure he wants to be associated with Taco Bell? I love the nachos bell grande and the yummy chili cheese burrito, but it's also very cheap food. -When was the last time someone in Hollywood was asked to change their name for a promotion? Are there some celebrities you can do this to and some you wouldn't?
- Is it possible some dummy might yell out to 50 Cent on the street -- "hey look, it's 79 Cent!" I think that's why he uses the name 50 Cent over and over . . . so people will know it's him.
-You're trying to make money off of him without him knowing. Does that sound ethical?

A little more research was needed.
50 Cent already sued an Internet company for using his image without asking in a game called "Shoot the rapper" where players pretend to shoot him.
A taco sure does sound good . . .
But, even with all the news and the possible $4 million loss in revenue if they lose, a lot of somebodies, somewhere (me, right now, because it's almost lunch time) are thinking, ummm, taco. I could use a taco. And there's a Taco Bell down the street. Cha-ching. But is it worth it?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Marketing/PR measurement

I'm looking for a best practices plan for measuring marketing and public relations efforts. For me, it seems like the success of the product and/or event is the only indicator of a job well done. One idea tossed around in the office is that we put on communication or online forms folks complete to include the "how did you hear about this?" There are so many factors... how do you measure your efforts at your organization or company?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

You can’t force a negotiation, I learned

After two months of car shopping off and on, haggling and getting mad, I finally got another car, a 2001 Honda Civic. And I learned something very important this week. You can’t make someone negotiate with you. Lucky for me, the car met my magic number after taxes and fees.
The small dealership sales manager shook his head every time I asked him to lower the price from the Internet one of $6,995.

Intimidating stares
The plan was for my friend Leslie and I to first be very nice. (And at first, it was looking pretty good when the first thing the sales guy said to us was do you want to take the Civic out? He didn’t even get my driver’s license.) Then when he didn’t lower the price we were just going to sit there. And look at him. I hoped the uncomfortable silence would push him to say something, anything, like a lower price. He just stared back at us and didn’t flinch. Didn’t work.

Scrambling for plan B
So, we tried a couple of other tactics. But the deal was in the dealership’s favor. With gas prices rising, everyone’s trying to find smaller cars with high miles per gallon. There was only one Honda in his lot and it wouldn’t be there for long. The only thing in my corner was there was a stain on the carpet. It looked a little worn. Still, no lower price.

One small concession, thanks to Leslie
Here’s how some of the banter went about the free tank of gas:
Sales guy: “I give you two gallons of gas.”
I wince.
Other sales guy: “Hey that’s a lot of money these days.”
Later on cool Leslie says: “I thought you said two tanks of gas. Take two tanks of gas.”
Sales guy: “No, I said, two gallons. How about a tank?”
Me: “I’ll take it!”
That Leslie is a sly fox.

Carmax is Carmax and they’re not it
After the sales guy says he won’t go down in price he explains: “People think they can haggle. We really don’t lower our prices.”
Me: “You’re not Carmax! Maybe you should put up a sign saying the price is what is or something.” No one pays the sticker. Right? Ha Ha.

The point is, you can’t negotiate if the other person won’t. It’s just like a relationship or conversation ending when one person leaves and the other one stays.

But in the end, I have the car I wanted for an OK price.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Searching Technorati: You're not vain. You're working!

You can find out what blog posts say about your organization or company using Technorati. I read about this blog search engine in PR 2.0 by Deirdre Breakenridge and many, many, many blogs host this little logo. Think of it as Googling yourself, because Technorati is updated with 175,000 new blogs each day. And blogs are updated overall with1.6 million posts per day.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Now here's a camera for nonprofits

OK -- this is a product and business plug. But I couldn't find too many camera recommendations for nonprofits on the Internet. So I hope this will help someone else who is about as knowledgeable about fancy cameras as she is about the "time circuits" in her car's speedometer. (That's right, time circuits are only possible in the movie Back to the Future.)

I was recommended to Showcase in Atlanta for a camera for the novice to use at events when we can't get a volunteer photographer. We needed something not expensive, easy, and with the capability of getting high resolution photos. The folks at Showcase were so helpful and knowledgeable and recommended the Nikon P80. (Hint: It also helps to know photographers to compare notes.) There are only a few key buttons to remember. You can choose what resolution you want. And you can get video for your Web site and You Tube.

I've got it out of the box and started to charge the battery ... so far so good.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's getting harder for the boss to snoop on your texting on the work phone

Don't go crazy yet sending racy texts to your person. But a new court ruling is making it harder for employers in some states to snoop around your phones/pagers, so says an article in the July 14 issue of Newsweek.

In the U.S. Ninth Circuit states -- Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (but no, sniff, sniff, Georgia), --protects text messages from nosy employers. Couple of questions: How will this be enforced? Will phone companies simply not reveal any of the messages in their back-up system to employers? Are the messages admissible in court?
Here's what happened to spur this all on: a California police officer, Newsweek reported, was provided a work-issued pager. His bosses read his personal text messages sent from this device. The officer apparently had even gone over his text limit -- so his bosses checked into it. He typically paid the overage charges. But the Ninth Circuit court ruled that the officer's texts are protected, even though they were on a work phone.

With all the employee handbooks out there stating that everything you look at on the computer, every e-mail and phone call can be monitored because it is the company's property, this case is surprising, but nice. Wonder how texting is different from e-mailing?