July 24, 2009

More Friday Follies

RIP Gidget
According to PeoplePets, Gidget, the chihuahua that was the face of Taco Bell for a few years in the late 1990's has died.

Gidget was the subject of lots of controversy within the ad community. She also pissed off a whole lot of Hispanic people who saw her as an unflattering stereotype.

In 2003, Taco Bell had to pay out over $40 million to two guys who claimed Taco Bell had stolen the idea for a chihuahua spokesdog from them.

Some Good News For Social Media
There are some facts emerging that may indicate that social media can pay out.

Online Media Daily reports that a study...
...from social media platform Wetpaint and digital consulting firm Altimeter Group found that companies with the highest levels of social media activity on average increased revenues by 18% in the last 12 months, while the least active saw sales drop 6% over that period.
It sounds promising, but there are two problems:
1. What's the cause and what's the effect? Are companies more likely to do well because they participate in social media? Or are they more likely to participate in social media because they are doing well?

2. I never trust studies done by interested parties. It sounds to me like both the sponsoring companies have a vested interest in the success of social media.
If You're Interested In The Results...
...of the survey we did on Tuesday, you can find them here. And if you took the survey, thanks.

Why Are Web Metrics So Screwed Up?
I use something called Feedburner (it's owned by Google) to measure how many people subscribe to a feed of this blog. It seems simple enough. All it has to do is count.

I'm sure, like everything else related to the web, it ain't as simple as it seems. They probably can't count subscribers directly, so they use a formula (I'm sure they call it an "algorithm" just to be as pretentious as possible) that counts something they are able to count (X) and then derive the number of subscribers (Y) based on their knowledge of the relationship between X and Y. That's simple enough.

I've been using Feedburner for almost two years, and you'd think by now it would have learned that I don't publish on weekends. My visitor counts on Saturday and Sunday drop off significantly.

And yet every weekend Feedburner tells me that I've lost hundreds of subscribers and every Monday I magically pick up hundreds of subscribers. Obviously, this isn't a function of subscribers, it's a function of weekend visitor counts.

With all the amazing brainiac technology Google uses, you'd think they could create a formula that recognizes such obvious patterns.

And Speaking Of Annoying Web Metrics...
...I get aggravated when I go to the AdAge Power 150 and find blogs that I know get half the readers of TAC placing ahead of me. I know they're playing Google games.

You Read It Here First
A few days after Michael Jackson died, we wrote ...
"By the way, Michael's doctor is going to wind up in deep doo-doo."
Yesterday, the AP reported that Jackson's doctor is the target of a manslaughter investigation.

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