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Original articles from Abdul Fattah Ismail.
Stretch Out The Meaning of SEO
I believe in the growth of digital media. Our ability to communicate on all platforms offers a flexibility in business production that has never been realized in any other era. Corporations are learning slowly about terms like metadata, page views, and conversion rates, but some executives still aren’t convinced of the algorithm as a worthy investment, even if consumer traffic begins with a website for everyone. Outspoken Media has some opinions for marketing managers to crack the digital ceiling.

Engagement Is Not a Financial Measurement
In a traditional dictionary, one can look up the word "engagement." One would find six interpretations of the noun. By reducing the root word to "engage," one will find eleven interpretations of the verb. You will understand why I diagrammed this word in a minute. Engagement has been thrown into marketing strategy on many levels, particularly with social media.

'Like' Diesel QR Codes In The Store
Lovers of Diesel denimware should pop into a retail branch and like the denim collection. As this video from Creativity UK demonstrates, the brand is attempting to connect the millennial experience when shopping for goods.This interactive marketing strategy asks the customer to scan the QR code, where they’ll be taken to a product landing page with the option to share it on their social media platforms, specifically Facebook. It is unclear if the other platforms are available for sharing options. The viral community can either bash or love your fashion taste.

Lipton Refreshes For Positivity
We know that online video advertising is a stabilizing sector of digital marketing and branding. I’ve talked about it enough, so now we look at an example in the marketplace. Lipton's commercial spot was created by DDB London and illustrates the therapeutic qualities of tea as a beverage.

Google Adds +1 To Share, Search
Google is rolling out a share content button to rival the premiere social network ones. As with other Google software products, the content will be mined in the search result indices. Depending on its success, you could see a benefit for small businesses that are looking to push a strategy online through local channels.

Vice Maintains Its Grip On Edgy Media
Living in New York, we see them all over the place: the stack of magazines with taxidermy, the hipster clothing labels, the technicolor hosiery. They host parties with cheap beer and local bands. Who are these folks? I’m talking about Vice Media. Vice started out as a nominal lifestyle magazine founded by a few Canadian gentlemen.

The Advantage Of Minimalist Web Design
The word minimalism is defined by a reduction of tone. In music specifically, according to Dictionary.com, minimalism utilizes only simple sonorities, rhythms, and patterns. Repetition and hypnotism surface through motion.

MYHABIT Debuts Through Amazon
If you are a college student, the membership fee of $79 for Amazon Prime is waived. One more benefit includes a membership to the new flash sale portal: MYHABIT.

Book Industry Tries To Turn Digital Page
You wonder if parents will be able to read with their children off of an Amazon Kindle or iPad at bedtime. Primary school teachers must develop new strategies for engaging young minds. Will literacy develop a wider class gap in correlation with access to new tech equipment?

Domino's True Food Stories
Back in late 2009, Domino’s Pizza launched a multichannel advertising campaign expressing blunt opinions from pizza consumers about their product. It was less than flattering. As an NYC resident, I don’t need to order from Domino’s since superior pizza options are a train ride away. I did say "train ride" because my neighborhood has pretty standard, gooey pies. Therefore, I was not sympathetic to their cause. The marketing management team worked extensively with their chefs and product testers on the product.

Has The Daily Deal Expired?
I noticed last week through Mobile Marketer Daily that Visa is now betting on mobile deals. In the era of thrifty coupons shuffling between the tablet and smartphone, how do you control it? I think it depends on your personal reading desire. You must have the acumen to quickly scan a lot of content to find servers that deliver products fitting your personal tastes and preferences.

Volkswagen and LinkedIn Drive With Der Passat
The Netherlands has been a boon for LinkedIn's rise as a social media platform for professional development. Now they are expanding their strategies to include renowned brands for engagement. Marketers are catching on, and Volkswagen recently teamed up with them to promote its new Passat in those same Netherlands.

The Death of the (Manual) Typewriter
It’s hard to call the headline a surprise. Some believed that the typewriter’s slow death began back in 1981, when Big Blue (IBM) put the PC onto the marketplace at $1,565 dollars for consumers. In case you missed it, an Indian manufacturing company, Godrej & Boyce, has produced its final 500 typewriters.

Loopt Q Spins You Around Town
The Bay Area is the tech hub of our nation, as we know. The brand titans like Facebook even get involved with the presidential administration. Startup companies like Loopt reside in the background, innovating for the present and future. Although this brand isn't quite as pervasive, they had a strong outreach at the SXSW Interactive Festival in March, and the emergence continues with the Q application.

Mobile Search Competition Heats Up
Consumers are searching for content through mobile devices at a greater clip. We know that Google has an overwhelming grip on the market place: 97%, to be exact. That means 3% is there for the taking. Be sure to have a separate SEM strategy for the PC. As marketers differentiate these strategies, they will have a clearer understanding of their marketplace. Objectives will be fulfilled, keeping content king.

Desperados Beer Builds Brand With YouTube House Party
Desperados is a beer infused with a tequila kick. Produced by Heineken and distributed worldwide, the brand is making an impact online with a nascent vehicle strategy: the online, interactive commercial. This vehicle engages the user in several key steps, which generates a solid payoff for your time. In the first few seconds, the video (hosted on YouTube) has you working with the control panel.

Health and Wealth With Technology
Some time back in San Diego, health care executives gathered to talk about the potential for technology to impact lifestyle. Technology is making a strong impact on wellness as the younger demographic loses access to health care.

Yeah, There's a Privacy Violation For That
In a recent headline from the Journal, federal prosecutors in New Jersey are probing about smartphone applications obtaining personal information from users without proper disclosure. The case bears following for several reasons. As the investigation draws on, legal experts will wonder if the result brings civil or criminal charges.

An Email Marketing Toolbox
Posterous is a microblogging site. You might be surprised to find that more of them exist besides Tumblr, which is still on network overload. Posterous differentiates itself with the ability to post without creating an account. Mimicking a post-it note, the message is short but lucid as day. On first glance, the site also holds a stronger sharing toolbox.

MLB Explores Online Video With Microsite
MLB is doing something about this perception of its brand. According to this piece from The New York Times, a new online video advertising campaign looks to bring baseball stars to a viral conscience. Executives believe that a viral campaign can elevate players who have strong regional support to the national dialogue. So, how is the MLB pushing its brand to social media users? By using a microsite.

Verizon and SAP Bring More Business to Smartphones
An article that ran last week announced that Verizon and SAP have partnered to take on Salesforce.com by bringing customer relationship management software straight to smartphones. SAP supplies business software solutions and support across the globe.

Mobile Search Is Local and Social
In Orlando last week, executives congregated at CTIA Wireless 2011 to discuss the present and future of mobile consumer products. One columnist feels that the thunder has been stolen from previous conventions this year, namely in Vegas and Barcelona. Nevertheless, interesting forums are surfacing in the news. According to a Bing executive in Mobile Marketer Daily, 50 percent of search queries on mobile have a local intent.

AT&T and T-Mobile: Masters Of The Obvious
Those in the Twitterati circle saw the tweet in their feeds yesterday afternoon. Safe to say that it was curiously timed. Then the magnitude hit your senses. AT&T made a bid to purchase T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion in cash and stock. Airwaves have chattered constantly about the implications for this proposal on many levels. Analysts see it as a test for the Obama administration, which has imposed strict federal regulations in light of the 2008 crisis on merger and acquisition deals through the complex Dodd-Frank Act. The deal’s approval hinges on AT&T’s proposal to meet this objective, and if it does, its brand will become even larger.

Twitter Is Five!
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey fired off the very first tweet back in 2006, per CNNMoney. Twitter turned five on March 21, and its popularity among media people who work in the digital and traditional side is undeniable. The limit of characters, called microblogging, has brought an immediacy to online communication and has democratized the transfer of news data.

TED Opens Up At SXSW
Today is the last day for the interactive sector, but highlights are rising from various news sources. One such highlight is on a new development that will expand TED's brand to even further reaches of the world.

Quora Queries Their Business Model
Quora has made a nascent rise in cyberspace since its inception six months ago. The website’s premise allows its members to ask and answer questions of one another on an array of topics. I remember when Ask Jeeves came out years ago. That carried some novelty, with the logo of a butler who resembled Alfred Hitchcock.

Trade Associations Research To Scale Content
This is hardly a new theme in the discussion. Consumers are embracing content on various channels in various forms. The interactive marketing sector will need to find appropriate methodologies for measuring viewers.

The Campaign For E-Commerce Legislation
Marketers stretch the boundaries if necessary to promote a product. We need to optimize our ability to generate sales at the end of the day. This hardened principle puts marketers in a negative light. Our sector has a strong collection of data from hordes of research metrics gained through web traffic, data mining, and so forth. A new law was passed in December to assure consumers that marketers are not overstepping their boundaries. The Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act was created to curb the marketers who spoil the bunch.

Does Site Speed Still Matter For Search Indexes?
On SEOmoz.com, Google recently announced that site speed will be a critical metric to understand a site’s usability. Then it will be ranked accordingly on the search index. For the uninitiated, site speed is the measurement of how long a queried page loads to full resolution. That result is measured in conjunction with its success in comparison to other pages in cyberspace.

The Truth About Nokia: World Sales Leader. Last U.S. Seller
Phones by Nokia have a reputation for being durable and multifaceted. The N97, for example, has a touchscreen interface along with a sliding QWERTY keyboard. One would think that people beat down the door for this type of device. So why isn't the brand succeeding in the U.S.?

The End Of The Captcha Era
You may not know the name of it, but they have surfaced when you are going through security prompts on websites. They become more irritating when you need to revise a password on a Google Network service. You know for a fact that you typed it correctly, but the algorithm says "incorrect." I’m discussing the squiggly words known as the captcha.

Ballplayers And Musicians Talk On Vevo
Major sporting events often span the crowd for famous actors and musicians of various mediums. The fusion is a natural part of life, not unlike peanut butter and jam.

Social Media Marketing Commandments
For corporate management, social media can be an experience that tests the ability to measure their audience desires at an informal level. In the same vein, it tests the ability to manage those desires into a formal business plan that is distinct from other communication channels. The vertebrae of social media is community development on a viral level. Content of all forms is shared across networks, and the first motivation is not sales.

AT&T Shouts Their Love For Valentine's Day
Valentine’s Day is one holiday that brings out strong opinions in people regardless of their relationship status. I’ve heard it called a corporate crock. I’ve heard it’s a Hallmark card brought to a cloying, saccharine diorama of life. Stories in the past have also circulated about labor abuse of rose trade workers in Ecuador. For brands, however, Valentine’s Day can be one of creativity. AT&T is reeling from the latest deal between Apple and Verizon. They were looking to maintain their customer base while extending their reach into digital services.

A Day In The Life of Social Media Week
I spoke with some lament the other day about the clandestine nature of social media week in terms of its promotion. My grumpiness turned to cheer when I saw an invitation to a discussion between Douglas Rushkoff, writer of Program or Be Programmed, and Erick Schonfeld, co-founder of TechCrunch. Rushkoff led a spirited, philosophical discussion about digital media spreading viral endemics in our movements across Earth.

How To Write A Good Meta Title For Search Indexes
The term "meta title" can sound daunting to the uninitiated web reader. One could think of it as the keyword to another dimension of technology, and to some extent, it is another dimension. The idea behind the meta title is to link the vastness of cyberspace into a common, short bond of terms. In order for search indexes to pull up the results we want, a good meta title is imperative.

Facebook and Walmart Like Digital Strategy
Social media ventures facilitate platforms to engage one another with the cyberspace community. They are gaining credibility in the investor marketplace, as LinkedIn recently filed for an IPO. Facebook was investigating a plunge into the public sector by speaking with executives from Goldman Sachs. That has sparked controversy. Controversy comes and disappears with new industries. Business models also need to be solidified for an industry to truly take flight.

Numbers Can Lie
Twitter is generating social media analytical sites by the week. It seems that social media gains a little more credibility as a distributor of real-time content. Sometimes, however, the quantitative is false. This is the danger of viewing metrics too closely: numbers can fill in a space, but they don’t tell the story. Hastiness can also hurt your business twice as much. Be careful when pulling the plug.

Google's Mission Impossible: Content Farms
Content farms are companies who get a large amount of writers to develop textual content, and journalists from the earlier generation deride these writers. They are accused of producing work that gums up index results without producing fresh, immediate material. We have all been victimized. For example: you click on a link that has an intriguing meta title, but it lands you on a poorly developed website with a long loading time.

The State of the Marketing Automation Industry
I have spoken in this column a few times about marketing automation software, and I was surprised about the length of its history in providing cloud solutions for corporations and organizations. The industry is embarking on its 13th year, and has an emerging customer base in CRM.

The HTML Logo: Virtue or Vice?
Website designers are some of the more modest professionals I meet on a daily basis. They take strong pride in understanding the full dynamics of their project, from the mathematical measurements to the shades of their color spectrum. Therefore, it is interesting to gauge the feelings created by a new logo released last week.

Social Media Returns Content, But What About Investment?
We speak ad nauseum about social media and its impact on our personal lives. Anyone can become a relevant figure through social media networks. Content of all forms is distributed around the clock from locations spanning the globe. Also, we know that corporations are jumping into social media since many of their target customers peruse the space. They often jump into the fray without a lead representative, much less a strategy that proves effective.

Discovery Crucial For CRM Success
Implementation of customer relationship management (CRM) is more than simply installing software onto your small business network. Management must use tangible objectives toward which employees can execute responsibilities to the fullest, maximizing return on investment. As this article from CRM Buyer points out, the experience is dynamic, meaning that an open mind is required at all times. Here are some themes that management should consider with their CRM solutions.

Heineken Turns Viral Video Into A TV Campaign
Heineken has searched far and wide to find a balanced niche in the stateside marketplace. None of their pours have ended in a proper finish—until now. Dos Equis has struck a chord with the "Most Interesting Man In The World" campaign and ironically rests in the Heineken USA portfolio. Wieden & Kennedy built the effort, and this time the bubbles may stay crisp. The effectiveness of Heineken's web campaign has been so strong that a television spot is supposedly coming by March. This segmented campaign could be a model strategy that transforms beyond beverages and into other sectors. Heineken has the potential to ride that wave into the small fridges of the Big Ten, Big East, and Rockies.

Social Media Influencers: Persuasive or Irrelevant?
Influences breed a variable set of emotions in the human experience and our global economy. Some folks are influenced by the style of certain fashion designers or someone in their family. Others are influenced by a particular set of media presentations, such as a television series, periodical pieces, and the like.

Of Seniors and Social Media
Effective digital marketers understand the powerful influence of the baby boomer and senior generations. Why? They have money. According to a JWT BoomerEyes/C&R Research study, baby boomers spend about $2 trillion annually. Not only that, 2010 was to be the first year adults 45+ out-spent younger adults by $1 trillion.

Patch and AOL Try To Fill Local News Gaps
Newspapers, due to advertisers shifting their priorities to other news channels such as Internet, mobile, and tablet devices, have left gaps in the release of local community stories. Many of these cover smaller municipalities.

See Augmented Reality Advertising With Google Goggles
Google's web developers, according to this recent news, seek to elevate multiple facets of advertising for the mobile user. If you have not experienced Google Goggles as an iPhone or Android user, the time is now. Google Goggles is an application that lifts printed digital text to create a correlating visual object.

The Playbook: A RIM Shot?
Research In Motion opened up their Playbook to CES trade show participants over the weekend. Executives are looking to offer the sleek, slight device to longstanding BlackBerry customers for easy integration between devices. Other companies have debuted tablets over the last few months, but BlackBerry has unique features. RIM is maintaining strong security protocol standards with the Playbook, just like their other devices.

How To Write Under The SEO Influence
Blogs were initially created to update events on a personal scale in a live format. On a corporate scale, blogs are necessary to communicate new products and services. Blogs also need to be searchable with mainstream engines; crawlers settle on certain words that are key to elevating a website’s ranking on an index list. Many know them as keywords, but crawlers have more than meets the keystroke.

Green Marketing Rules For Brands
At one point before Christmas, I traveled like an NBA guard from Philadelphia to New York to Chicago within three days, and I noticed that retailers are offering very steep discounts on their items. Marketers have had to pull out the stops on promotional tactics, and they're are intensifying efforts on green products as well. Consumers have been receiving a lot of information on sustainable goods and biodegradable items in recent years.

The Intelligent Case of Smartphone Privacy
Your mobile applications are sprouting by the day. You can even cross-link your accounts to send quips, images, and other ditties. Some of us don’t participate because we wonder who is watching us. Some of us don't know how to perform these tasks. Regardless, the federal government is going to protect you online. We think.

Greenpeace Fights Chinese Deforestation With Chopsticks
Greenpeace has developed a community that takes on threats to our ecosystem perpetrated by the social structure. They are now taking their mission to the emerging markets. For example, this next decade could see the emergence of China as a nation with tentacles that influence all industries in our world order.

Gap Dashed Through the Snow With Reindeer
The Gap has not had the best year, from the public row over its logo change to middling sales figures. As the year closes, they are still trying to channel some holiday magic. In their latest social media campaign with ad shop AKQA, Gap unleashed several reindeer throughout the Minnesota prairie.

Giving Through Social Media
In the world of philanthropy, nothing is more crucial to a campaign than the relationship between an organization and its donors, and the explosion of social media would seem to benefit organizations that have limited resources to solicit and engage new participants. According to The New York Times, the market has several intermediaries such as Network for Good, Crowdrise, and Causes on Facebook. These intermediaries have driven traffic to charity sites, cut expenses with cloud services, and given visibility to a plethora of missions.

2011: The Year of Online Video Advertising
As the year of Mark Zuckerberg closes, many advertising executives are moving to forecast new developments for 2011. One of them involves the movement toward online video advertising. I think that with the continued emergence of tablets into the marketplace, we'll see much more creative digital video in development that can be shared across multiple channels. Third party ad serving technology is key in the burgeoning movement of online video advertising.

Urban Outfitters: E-Commerce for a Digital World
Urban Outfitters has grown to over 100 stores across North America and select European nations with visions of greater expansion. It has a wide portfolio of casual wear paired with modern furniture design; its product portfolio brims with retro design and venerable American labels. Urban Outfitters also has a complex reach into the digital world with their online stores for computers and mobile phones. In an age of rapid transitions, Urban Outfitters is the quintessential apparel business for our time.

Software Advice Launches Marketing Automation Software Guide
Small businesses and organizations need to find the right marketing strategies for solid ROI. Once this is settled, then the true spirit of B2B (business to business) marketing practices will be fulfilled.

A Kinetic Future With The iAd
Over the past decade, no company has made a bigger impact on technology consumer products than Apple. They have created iconic products across several channels, and now they're looking to change the mobile advertising experience with iAds.

Yahoo! Mail Delivers For Email Marketers
Yahoo! Mail was my first personal email account, and it used to be all about the online transfer of simple, typed messages. Nowadays, you can engage with demographics at many levels and with many different kinds of media. With social media use on the rise, direct email marketing alone isn't always enough (despite its ability to generate high response rates).

The FTC Pitches 'Do Not Track' Legislation
According to a report from The New York Times, the Federal Trade Commission is considering a new option for people who browse online. Web advertisers who are not privy to the news, take a seat. Just when tools to measure online activity are taking the stage, the government might want to spoil the pay-per-click fun. The Federal Trade Commission has a privacy mechanism on the table in which many online users can enter a ‘do not track‘ system. Browsing habits would remain hidden from advertisers who are depending on this quantitative data to sculpt campaigns for goods and services.

Nike Unveils Updated Training App for Women
Just in time for a New Year's resolution, Nike is releasing an updated Nike Training Club app for iPhone/iPod Touch at the start of 2011. Mashable reported that the application, geared toward women and "designed to be a full-body training app," will offer numerous customization options specific to the user's body mass index while focusing on strength, cardio, and core muscles.

Holiday Shopping Evolves
Consumer junkies and lovers of the bargain, you can take a breath for now. You survived the airports and interstates. Your family wasn’t as annoying this Thanksgiving because you were using your new iPad to purchase goods on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. The NFLShop.com had a 25% off coupon for any item last Sunday. I got assaulted with coupon codes for Cyber Monday from all kinds of merchants, like Savorique and PEGLEG NYC.

Google’s Possible $6 Billion Acquisition of Groupon: Overpriced or Prudent Investment?
The blogosphere started buzzing as rumors of the supposed Groupon acquisition by Google surfaced last week. Initial reports stated that the deal was thought to be valued at approximately $2.5 billion. On Monday, according to Kara Swisher from All Things Digital, Google is believed to have offered $5.3 billion with $700 million in earnout for the group-buying website.

Are Miramax and YouTube Fit To Stream Together?
According to a newswire last week, Google and Miramax are in talks on a licensing deal. Google would purchase the right to distribute digital content from the Miramax library through YouTube, its social media video site. The finer details have not been reported yet, but as the wire speculates, immediate benefits would arise. Google TV seeks credibility as an online content distributor in tandem with Hulu and Netflix. Many of the major networks have thwarted Google’s aggression into this marketplace by blocking their programs' availability.

Cisco Enters the Video Interactive Market With Umi
Cisco, the office technology giant that specializes in teleconferencing equipment for corporations, now aims for your home. A few ads have circulated on television featuring Ellen Page of Juno fame. The company is looking to capitalize on the burgeoning home interactive market, where consoles dictate physical activity along with video sharing.

Why Free Shipping Hurts the Consumer
This autumn has been marked with retailers priming the consumer for an onslaught of new digital technology. Website designers are optimizing their homepages with keywords that will drive up search indexes and hopefully produce e-commerce transactions. Before all that, however, you need a campaign strategy. Retailers are using this one in bold caps: FREE SHIPPING. As PC World spotlights in this piece, what lies beneath may not be loved. Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and JCPenney are among several retailers offering free shipping, but with caveats. Best Buy, for example, is not covering the freight for many leading computer hardware products, but Blu-Ray DVD players are available. Staples has a free shipping display advertisement on their homepage, but the product lands at your local store rather than your doorstep.

Pepsi and Foursquare Concoct Mobile Marketing Mixture
The makers of PepsiCo and Foursquare are teaming up for a program that could segment itself next to social media competitors, emerging and standard. A new rewards platform will enable customers of the Safeway grocer chain to link their loyalty accounts to their Foursquare profile. In turn, you receive discounts and promotional information when grabbing the cart. The marketers at Foursquare are placing classic bets on consumer behavior when doling out reward incentives. For example, if you purchase groceries in the morning on a consistent basis, PepsiCo will offer Tropicana grapefruit juice specials. Quaker Oats also will be in play.

Nielsen Rates Behind the Times
Today, we have a funny way of dictating who is current and otherwise. We do this with clarity. We can also see seismic shifts that one entity handles with the naked eye, but another one lacks the inability to defeat regardless of actions. I am talking about The Nielsen Company.

Little Debbie Writes New Marketing Recipe
Little Debbie is putting on a full-court press for the consumer unlike any point in their 50-year history. According to this piece from The New York Times, an Alabama advertising firm is using social media to engage consumers. The campaign found its way to Facebook, where fans can wax nostalgic about their experiences with the Tennessee brand. McKee Foods, Inc, the parent corporation, seems to believe in traditional Southern hospitality with their strategy. They have one strong advocate in Manhattan. Kansas, that is. Little Debbie also started a nationwide tour with an Airstream full of sample goods. When consumers board the Airstream, they will have a chance to take a snapshot. All of the images will become part of a larger online mosaic that projects Little Debbie.

Can Microsoft Still Connect With the Digital Universe?
Microsoft wants to reinvent the way we interact with the digital universe. Last week, the tech titan released its new device, the “Kinect." As this report from Financial Times states, the Kinect was intended to be an add-on with the Xbox. It will demand a lot from the user, as it uses motion cameras and microphones to sense physical movements. The Nintendo Wii began the trend toward motion response but has a controller to manage movement. Kinect eliminates the controller and stimulates the user.

Groupon's Pitch Is a Curveball
I had heard about it through various folks in the marketing world. Now, heavyweight retailers are copying their business model after only two years of existence. The model I'm referring to is Groupon.

Chew on Mint's Fresh Data
A couple of years ago, Blueliner CEO Arman Rousta discussed the sleek minimalism of Mint.com as a website. It has improved my money management on simple levels due to its clear interface. Experts have lauded its design, and Mint has engineered a new level of online money management in an age where thrift is king. You can manage all of your accounts online whether they are property, savings, or loan accounts.

The Blekko Touch
Blekko is a new search engine that claims to give search results truer to your intentions. According to their executives, Google has been missing something: the human touch, like Bruce Springsteen. In this report from The Huffington Post, Blekko aims to cut down on spam and irrelevant, unfiltered results. Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta describes the mission as “Wikipedia meets search." By their methodology, however, it seems to run more like Twitter. It will be interesting to see if Blekko can usher in a new philosophy of SEO, relying on what it calls "slashtag" search.

The Art of the Tagline
Marketing 101 dictates a brand’s tagline must be original, memorable, and inspirational. At some point, everyone had a college marketing course where the professor introduced a long list of taglines that failed for being uninteresting, uninformative, and unimaginative. Granted, there's a long list of bad taglines, but many are discounted at face value because they don’t meet the criteria established by the marketing gods.

The Online Ad Is Back in Black
Online advertising is coming back with strength. According to this note from paidContent.org via Magna Global, Web advertising revenues will reach $25.6 billion, an increase of 12 percent. Display advertising has led the charge, as e-commerce merchants gear up for the holiday season, which starts in earnest after Thanksgiving. Strangely, however, analysts have noticed the decrease in market share of direct media.

NBA Continues Crossover Into Social Media
Last week, NBA Digital announced the development of a new location-based mobile application that rewards fans for their attendance at NBA games. The NBA Turnstile is a solid step for a league that has a lot of interactive outreach but remains disconnected from the general public due to exorbitant ticket prices. The league still suffers some in public goodwill from years of shoddy play, gambling referees, and pampered athletes who use college basketball as a vacation stop for an undeserved contract.

Twiddle Me This, Thumbplay
As the smart phone industry continues to solidify, mobile marketing and its meal ticket, applications, continue to surface and provide content that appears to differentiate from the normal menu.

Brand Microsoft Dials up an Emergency Mobile
Last week, Microsoft released their new smart phones to the public, hoping to rectify the errors of past mobile marketing campaigns. The Kin's failure was so steep that the software board of directors slashed CEO Steve Ballmer’s annual bonus. The nine phones introduced at a launch event in New York City all operate with Windows 7 software, and the promotional campaign, according to executives, will be stuffed with urgency. The urgency comes from a smart phone market that is beginning to solidify itself with the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry models on top, while others look to tackle the network portals and application definitions.

Interactive Luxury, Neiman Marcus Style
The leaves have yet to change colors, but retailers are starting to ramp up their advertising campaigns for the holiday season. Although the economy is at a higher level than 2009, when retailers had to cut inventory due to consumers closing their wallets, caution still hangs in the air. Luxury goods, however, are starting to generate sales revenue. One venerable patron has a vision of penetrating with many channels.

Federal Regulations Tap Into Surveillance
Net neutrality may not become the only subject to infiltrate and suppress the frenetic, open world of Internet cyberspace. According to this report from The New York Times, sweeping regulations plan to be pushed through Congress by national security officials allowing surveillance officials to wiretap digital devices or any direct peer-messaging services (social media sites, Skype).

The Social Voice Network
As if the publicity generated by the nationwide release of Sony's "The Social Network" was not enough for Facebook, the social media giant plans to integrate further with Skype to bring voice capability to your smart phone. Skype has a strategy of securing greater online advertising revenue and extend its network into corporate entities. Recently, the company applied for an IPO, and this will not hurt the cause. Facebook Places, the location-based application, has paid dividends, especially with local entities. Rumors spread lately that Facebook was developing a mobile telephone, but I feel that integrating an established mobile application like Skype that has a solid balance sheet is more pragmatic as a venture.

Pay for the Subway With Your Smart Phone
According to a report on Mashable, Visa has entered a partnership with the MTA to allow the smartphone carriers of New York to pay fares with the wave of their iPhone, dubbed the payWave system. Visa also is working with Bank of America to bring smart phone payments to retailers in New York. Both initiatives would use a touch-screen sensor at registers or stalls to facilitate quicker transactions.

The Doctor of Digital Imaging Is In
Adobe’s Photoshop recently turned 20, leaving adolescence in the rearview mirror. It is hard to believe that Adobe’s seminal program has not only become de rigueur term for graphic design, but also the code word for image enhancement, especially within the world of photography. I first used Photoshop way back in 1995 as an entertainment editor for my high school newspaper. The yearbook staff was the principal user, but I did not hesitate to tailor images in my spare time.

Keep Pitching, Creatives
The marketing and advertising industry has always been thought of with a general axiom: ”It’s a tough business to enter and even tougher to leave.” Our current economic climate has many still dying to get back in the game, then run full court without a timeout. According to a report from AdWeek, 10 percent of marketing executives think they’ll increase their personnel quotas during the fourth quarter. The majority think that staffing will remain constant.

YouTube Streams Live Television
Google Inc. is struggling to gain market share in social media, but they are continuing to make strides with YouTube. Last week, according to reports, the search advertiser started a two-day trial of streaming live content through four Web video sites. Some of the networks include Howcast, Next New Networks, Rocketboom, and Young Hollywood. These networks will get advertising in the form of sponsorship opportunities shortly.

The Lucky Machine, Brought to You by Uniqlo
Uniqlo, the casual fashion label run by Fast Retailing, Inc., has made serious business ventures within the retail sector over the past few years. In 2006, they debuted a stateside store in Soho (New York) that is filled relentlessly with tourists and fashion purveyors. Plans also are forming to open a second retail venture on Fifth Avenue in 2011, as customers look to maximize their income without sacrificing style and quality. Patrons rave about their multichannel promotions with labels such as Jil Sander and Velvet, using a full range of interactive media.

Kraft Plays the Interactive Marketing Game
Kraft looks to melt those feelings of anger when the vending machine does not give you a snack or change. We’ve all been at that point, when the office is too demanding to leave, and you dig for change to purchase some Cheez-Its, Lemon Cookies, or Funyuns. Then it gets stuck on the way down ...

Yahoo and Microsoft Deal for Search Marbles
Yahoo, after a period of management disarray, is settling into a full search partnership with Microsoft. A couple weeks ago, the technology firm aligned their services with Microsoft’s Bing to help leverage market share against Google in the search advertising industry. The technology giants agreed to a 10-year contract with the goal to be a serious contender.

Social Media Dresses Up Fashion Week
Labor Day's passing signifies a sea change on many levels. Pools close. Farmers cut back their crop inventory to harvest for the winter. Summer homes are emptied, with grills cleaned one last time and patio furniture stacked in the basement. The first bell of school rings, meaning that students want to show their new threads purchased with adult’s money. Art dealers and creators return from Europe and other distant enclaves around the world to show off their new collectives. In New York City, all this happens and so does Fashion Week. Labels still are recovering from a huge loss in sales over the past couple years. Japan lost nearly all of its Versace stores. The haute market is making a slow reach into China and Korea but not confidently. Believe it or not, though, fashion is patching things up in a different way.

Craigslist Closes the Adult Section
In a late report Friday, the online classified website Craigslist shut down their adult services section. Many critics, including Craigslist executives, believe that if the section was removed permanently, sex advertisements would gravitate to other parts of the site, undermining their integrity. Currently, the classified executives are reserving comment until further notice, which is hardly surprising. According to a report on InformationWeek, Craigslist gains 30 percent of their $122 million revenue through the adult services section. Geo- location's emergence in social media also is a threat to their viability as a local advertising website.

Yelp Is on Its Way
The launch of Facebook Places a couple weeks ago is rustling more than privacy settings. Their rivals now are sparring against one another. In a recent report, Yelp has struck a deal with Google to remove their content from Google Places, since the pay-per-click credit would fall to advertisers on Google Places and not Yelp, despite their influential business review to extract a consumer-purchasing decision.

Corporate Blogging for Search Index Gains
2010 undoubtedly has been the year of social media, as Twitter, Facebook, and Google look to expand their applications and compete will all involved. All business sectors are turning to social media for instant distribution of content as opposed to traditional blog applications. The strategy is sound depending on your initiatives and personnel, but corporate blogging still maintains credibility. According to eMarketer, 43 percent of U.S. corporations will be blogging by 2012. The nature of blogging is a healthy method of communication for firms that have a solid consumer-purchasing base with growth potential. A veritable portfolio of services also is a factor for the value of a corporate blog.

What Will Geolocation Do?
The launch of the Facebook Places application brings a cornucopia of themes to the table. Foursquare has seemingly taken an earnest stance with Facebook's geolocation initiative, as seen in the video below with Holger Luedorf, Foursquare's vice president of Mobile and Partnerships. Competition is healthy within any marketplace, as the crux of free market capitalism. Privately, I wonder about the startup's true thoughts. Foursquare has done a solid job of leveraging partnerships with Starbucks, for example, into a multipronged channel that delivers advertising and brand equity among a loyal base.

Target Hits the Mark With and Without Gilt
Target reported a lot of information this week. Their earnings increased some but below analysts' expectations. On the multichannel front, they continue to drive innovative marketing strategies. Today, Target enters a partnership with Gilt Groupe to do an exclusive flash-sale of its fall collection. It’s a deft move for brands to leverage two popular consumer bases and improve their online advertising metrics. Target, for years, has cemented their reach as a haute purveyor with thrifty price points through esteemed labels such as Isaac Mizrahi and Alexander McQueen.

The Wild West of Mobile Advertising
Apple rolled out a mobile advertising platform this summer to much fanfare and had several strong partnerships on the docket. According to The Wall Street Journal, only Unilever PLC and Nissan pushed campaigns this summer. Other companies have unbundled their platforms slowly, with little evidence of a great impact. From a distance, one could wonder if Apple’s penchant for proprietary control could catch up with them in the mobile advertising market. Their battle with Adobe over Flash silenced publicly, but nobody is convinced that HTML5, despite its open source adaptability, can surpass the reliability of Flash video.

Putting a Stamp on Direct Marketing
The U.S. Postal Service has been bleeding funds for a long, long time. The markup on stamps has outpaced inflation over the past decade. The technological advancements of information distribution have affected the Postal Service's value to the average citizen. UPS and FedEx tout faster delivery with various modes of transport but at a prohibitive cost for corporations. In fact, these shipping firms align select services with the Postal Service to reduce delivery fees. The latest news concerning the rise of first-class mail postage to $0.46 breeds the long-standing question: Is direct marketing still viable for advertisers? Today’s campaign even transitioned away from e-mail marketing into social media targets, which is a dangerous proposition.

Google and Verizon Draw a Traffic Blueprint
The rumor mill had been churning that Google and Verizon were discussing a partnership to influence Internet traffic. Many cried foul, saying that net neutrality is the wave of the present and future, especially for small businesses that want to branch into online advertising. Large corporations can use their resources and eliminate those without the funds for smooth traffic delivery.

Dollars and Sense Determine Successful Marketing Efforts
In today’s financial environment, everyone wants to know how to make a dollar out of 15 cents. Big business is no exception. When a company’s fiscal quarter or year ends, the looming question of how to stretch an already stretched-out budget is inevitable. Unfortunately, layoffs and pay cuts are always at the top of the list.

The American Academy in Rome, NPR Discuss the Newsroom
The American Academy in Rome and National Public Radio recently held a livestream discussion, "The Future of News in the Digital World," from the Villa Aurelia in Rome. Christopher Celenza, director of the Academy, served as moderator, while Vivian Schiller, president and CEO of NPR, and Sylvia Poggioli, NPR senior European correspondent, fielded questions from online followers and a live audience.

Metrics and Internet Marketing
How can you use Web site metrics to help improve your marketing strategy and promote a positive Web presence? There is a plethora of information to be gleaned from Web site metrics that can help improve a marketing strategy and bring increased customer satisfaction, plus return on investment (ROI), a more user-friendly Web site and site enhancement.

Minor Leagues Connects on a Digital Platform for Ad Buyers
The summer is the perfect time to hit the old ballparks to take in our national pastime and have a hot dog and a beer. As many live on a tighter budget, minor league affiliates are becoming an attractive option. Youngsters also have an easier time to get acquainted with players. MiLB is a formidable organization with a loyal fan base ripe for marketing. They took a huge step forward by using a new digital-buying platform that centralizes the advertising menu for sponsorship. Major League Baseball Advanced Media is a principal in the partnership. I spoke a little ago about Web advertising in need of a menu purchasing scale with traditional buyers, and this could be a nice benchmark.

The Viral Redemption of Shirley Sherrod
For those who follow political news online, last week was a tornado of epic proportions for digital media. Shirley Sherrod, an official with the Department of Agriculture, was dropped ignominiously on Monday from her long-standing post after a controversial video circulated through popular social media channels. A snippet in Sherrod's speech allegedly had her admitting race was a factor in a decision to providing services for a white farmer in her native Georgia.

Customer Service as a Marketing Strategy
Where, oh where, did customer service go? With a world full of automated phone systems, self-serve Web sites, and overworked and underpaid disgruntled employees, customer service has left the country. When was the last time you picked up the phone and called a company to actually speak to a real person without going through 15 prompts?

Calvin Klein's Campaign: Chic, Interactive, and Modern
Last week, seminal fashion label Calvin Klein posted two pixellated advertisements, known as QR codes, in New York City and Los Angeles, with the title “Get It Uncensored." A 40-second clip and links to share through social media streams followed. Normally, you’ll see these codes on a much smaller scale, like your monthly GQ or Vogue issue. Calvin Klein, despite the struggles of apparel sales, continues with their traditional risks in advertising strategy. As a result, they offer a peek into the future. The advent of location-based software, the Old Spice guy’s personal video responses, and Lego’s augmented reality boxes demonstrate a shifting, lawless era of interactive marketing.

Serve Social Media With Substance
With the big push for social media, brands are jumping into the foray headfirst. Some excel, some survive, and some fail. Social media is now standard fare among the traditional channels of print, TV, and outdoor advertising. As marketers continue to engage in a “conversation” with their consumers via Twitter, Facebook, and others, they cannot ignore the fundamentals of marketing.

Content Is Human, But Distribution Is Divine
I started with the Blueliner family back in late October 2009. I had a strong desire to enter the world of digital media but had little experience. Over time, I learned about the peripatetic nature of this industry. The frenetic pace of digital media can be dizzying to the naked eye. One thing has remained constant. In a world where attention spans are short and information is endless, distribution and marketing trumps the quality of content hands down. In the 20th century, distribution was more of an art form. Trailers, posters, stickers, and samples were used to elicit certain emotions in consumers to purchase a product or service. Google, with its revolutionary search algorithm, takes marketing strategy to a new level. Nowadays, your Web site must be optimized for search keywords. Otherwise, your content will not make an eye blink.

Make Radio Marketing Memorable
Not too long ago, I was cruising in the car, listening to the radio. A curious thing struck me later. The advertisements I remembered were those that contrasted the most in style to the station's programming. This got me thinking about the nature of advertising, media, and the senses. Media that engage fewer senses need more highly contrasted advertising spots to make an impression.

'Kissovation' Freshens Colgate
Colgate-Palmolive has been a marketing titan for a long time. They have turned around products in their porfolio into profit vacuums. Recently, they had a mission for a mini toothbrush, the Wisp. Colgate's desired demographic, urban dwellers between the ages of 18-25, was atypical for their strategic pursuit.

A Thread Grows Into a Marketing Quilt
Threadless has gained praise nationwide for their masterful use of online communities to drive sales. The Chicago-based company does not have professional designers, online advertising agencies, or other distributors to pirate income. It took time for the open-source movement to generate results, but they have commemorated it this year with a 10th anniversary campaign. It includes various price points for men, women, and children that fit anyone’s budget.

The Puma City by the Port
On June 25, my colleague Chris and I were fortunate enough to visit the Puma City. It is located near the Blueliner offices near the South Street Seaport in New York City. Created at the start of FIFA’s 2010 World Cup, it's a tour de force of marketing strategy. You’ll find plenty of games like an inflatable soccer field, foosball, and Ping-Pong tables. The cobblestones have trailers hawking officially licensed goods and a free number print service.

More Hulu Hoops for Viewers
According to The Wall Street Journal, Hulu LLC has announced a new paid subscription service for invited customers at $9.99 a month. The service offers a wider range of content and platforms, including older programs that are no longer on the air and more episodes of current shows.

DC Comics Publishes in Digital
Comic lovers now have another contender in the interactive media marketplace. DC Comics, the publisher of comics such as Superman, Batman, and the Green Lantern, is taking their collection online and into the mobile application world. According to Douglas Wolk of Techland, they have inked a deal with comiXology for mobile applications. They also are using The Playstation Network, giving themselves options to experiment with their campaign.

Burberry Continues to Check With Digital Muscle
Last fall, I worked on a marketing project that covered a case study on Burberry. As my group conducted research, we were impressed at how the company had reinvented itself through the years from a stodgy, aloof English brand to one whose signature check pattern became the hit of counter-theft agents worldwide. After that period, however, a new marketing executive took over and reenergized the brand with an interactive Web site that streamed runway shows from London, an e-commerce site tailored for every region, and lush photography to highlight their collection pieces.

In Marketing, Speak of Successful Services, Specialties
Your company may have one of the most dynamic, imaginative marketing teams. Your publicist may have a Rolodex bigger than Shaquille O'Neal. You tweet, digg, and like virally before and after night falls. Some things never change, though, in achieving success. In marketing, you simply need to do one thing: Tell your friends. If your products and services are truly at a high level, you want your cohorts to know about them. They can be brought up casually in their ear or at a networking soiree.

In a Nutshell, E-Mail Gets Social
In our connected world, writing an e-mail with only text is becoming antiquated, much less writing script on paper and sending it in the mailbox with a stamp. The recent proliferation of social media and mobile messaging networks saw to this fact. Since e-mail providers can’t beat them with simple text, they are joining the party. E-mail service providers are becoming complete marketers in all phases. They are purchasing mobile marketing companies, social media providers, and behavioral marketing firms.

Customer Loyalty Begins With These Marketing Maxims
Marketers, whether they are digital or traditional, think about how to create brands every second. They ponder the strategy, the steps, and the design, all in an effort to develop customer loyalty. Loyalty grows when a brand’s purpose is clearly defined. That purpose must fulfill an objective in the community at large. When this is achieved, the brand is a difference maker. It affects people on a positive level, enlightening the human experience. Blueliner, for example, provides a wide portfolio of digital marketing services at a reasonable price point to drive ROI.

Digital Doings Much Ado About Nothing
Register, Britain's tech site, found that Chris Blizzard fired strong vitriol against Apple and Google. His anger comes from the belief Apple is using their new products, such as the Safari Web browser and Macs, to prove that they are the leaders of open-source standards when the reality is otherwise. Chrome, Firefox, and Opera offer extensive support for open sourcing. One could assume that this is Steve Jobs using his marketing prowess to introduce software which Blizzard believes they do not fully use. Google does the same thing, as Chrome is touted as the fastest Web browser on the planet.

Virgin America Warms Interactive Lovers
Interactive marketers are always looking for the next hot gadget, the latest application, and the latest Web site with the most classified information. On a recent trip to California, I was fortunate to fly with Virgin America cross-country and from the south to the north. For the uninitiated, a flight on the airline will infect viral marketers for days.

Senate Approves Online Marketing Protection Bill
While the iPhone 4 and Yahoo's Internet Week Conference in Manhattan was generating buzz last week, the Senate quietly approved three bills, one of which will affect online marketing. Senate Committee Chairman John (Jay) Rockefeller, D-W.Va., offered the legislation, effectively barring companies from automatically passing a consumer's credit or debit card information to a third-party online partner. It would also require those third-party merchants to clearly disclose terms of the offer to consumers.

The Corner Kick: Bent by Programmers
A few weeks ago, I posted a piece discussing the viral marketing campaigns of assorted companies in anticipation of the World Cup, which began Friday morning. It's apparent that television programmers are putting their money where their mouths are. According to The New York Times, Disney's ESPN and Univision are paying record feeds to market and distribute the games. ESPN is paying $100 million for the rights to the next two World Cups, for both men and women.

Kraft's Marketing Is Icing on the Cheesecake
Sometimes your team can only do so much marketing for a product, and people just won't buy it. It can become even more disheartening when the brand has been renowned for decades. A few years back, Kraft Foods faced this dilemma with Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Sales remained dormant for most of the last decade. Then Kraft management made some adjustments through various methods. They featured an ad spot with the infectious "Spread A Little Love" ditty and sold it to carriers as a ringtone. They also created recipe tutorial videos for sauces and entrees on the brand Web site, expanding the product utility.

Make Way for the Millennials
The Pew Research Center recently examined a new generation, the Millennials. Their population is approximately 50 million the U.S., and they have a lot of positive attributes. Confident, self-expressive, liberal, and flexible, Millenials are also history’s "connected" generation, steeped in digital technology and social media. They depend on tweets, status updates, texting, and webcam access. According to the Pew Research Center, three-quarters of Millennials have created a profile on a social-networking site. Here are some other intriguing statistics.

Apparel Giant Crafts Creative Campaign, Contest
Back in 2004, I interned with the press department of Diesel U.S.A. My experience was unique, as I became acquainted with the inner workings of an apparel giant whose influence at the time remained strong with the dynamic and creative. Despite the high price tag of their denim, Diesel's sales flourished due to their innovative marketing strategies. Nowadays, the brand has lengthened their portfolio to the higher end.

One Fixed Price to Fit All Digital Platforms
According to a recent article, The New Yorker wants readers to pay once for digital access across tablets such as the iPad, Kindle, and other platforms. It would be a relief for subscribers, who are being charged for each edition per device. This leads digital publishers to believe that with time, a fixed price will cover all mediums, including print. The glacial pace of book and magazine publishers to set a price point must be frustrating for marketers and advertisers. They always catch the curve a little too late when it comes to adjusting with the flow of market corrections. Newspapers have incrementally caught on with The Wall Street Journal using their subscription fee to cover access to all content. They have that capability since they are serving a distinct demographic with the capital to support their specialization.

A Beautiful Game for Branding
The coverage is coming slowly but surely throughout the media. Americans may not care, but they can’t stop it. The World Cup beckons in June, and it will be in Africa for the first time ever with South Africa, a topographical beauty, taking center stage. Advertisers are stretching their calves for the sprint of product placements for the month-long tournament. Coca-Cola, for example, is teaming up with YouTube for a campaign built around the history of goal celebrations. It will include social media tags and videos from past tournaments.

Council a Stepping Stone for Multiculturals
The Interactive Advertising Bureau recently made a great step toward identifying an underserved but growing multicultural demographic by creating a new Multicultural Council. According to MediaPost, the council will look at key issues that affect marketing and advertising within the multicultural marketplace. They will be tested on segmenting the Hispanic population into several categories.

Don Draper Versus PlaceLocal
Software developed by PaperG, according to The New York Times, is stepping up against the advertising powers of Madison Avenue. PlaceLocal is a smart technology that builds display ads by browsing the Internet for references to a neighborhood restaurant or other local businesses. After the content is developed, it synthesizes photographs with reviews, customer comments, and other texts into a personal ad.

The Night Digital Spent in Jail
The iPad is here. Apple enthusiasts lined up around the Cube on Fifth Avenue and expected the next revolution in digital technology. In all honesty, Steve Jobs has delivered time and again. We in America love that in any shape or form. Apple's innovative products have brought a unique combination of art and science to the world. Media pundits question whether the iPad will save a floundering print industry. They should be discussing how it floundered in the first place.

Will Facebook Set the Record Straight?
At the F8 conference a few weeks back, Facebook unveiled their new 'Like' button, which aims to link users to Internet content. In doing so, it has brought up a heavy discussion about privacy settings and whether Facebook is breaching its original mission of an intimate connections between family, friends, classmates, and (unfortunately) ex-lovers. Users have complained that Facebook's privacy settings are too labyrinth.

Scripps Network and Cablevision Publicly Air Their Contract Negotiation Issues
Overview of the ongoing contract negotiations between Scripps Network Interactive and Cablevision which were made public yesterday.


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