Dave Barry's Blog
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Successfully driving away potential money
There is a trend picking up steam on the internet that irritates me and should be stopped. I blame marketing geniuses for this trend and we should never follow those peoples ideas. Marketer’s ideas about the internet should be taken seriously on the same level that you would take a mass murderer’s advice on raising a child. It might be good for an uncomfortable laugh or 2 but nothing more than that.
I compare this trend with the top 5 stupidest marketing decisions I have personally been witness to:
Number 5: Warranty Registration Cards
Number 4: Running a preview for Van Helsing prior to The Passion of the Christ
Number 3: Playing a feminine product commercial in the middle of Monday night football
Number 2: The Taco Bell Chihuahua
And Number 1: The removal of Jack from Jack in the Box
Now I know there are other advertising campaigns that may even have been worse, but I can contribute all of the previous 5 directly to marketing decisions made within a company, because someone thought they would make more money be squeezing just a little bit more out of the consumers.
This new trend that is bothering me so much has recently prevented me from reading Dave Barry from the Miami Herald website. The trend is the idea that requiring people to register on your site for free will give you better marketing information without losing your customers so you can still advertise to them. Well this just isn’t the case.
Now I do work in a company with a marketing department and I am in quite a few meetings where these ideas are hatched, and if logical thinking people are not present the marketing department will run with an idea solely off of the concept brought up by someone in their group, without testing it at all. On the other hand if the design department comes up with an improvement committees must be formed, focus groups convened, consumer opinions polled, and God and Satan must be consulted to determine who has the larger of the core market. A recent example within my own company of a runaway marketing idea was the idea that a picture of a giant shark with its teeth replaced by power tools, saying “Sharp Attack” would sell more of our power tool product. No one in the company new about this except for Marketing until the thousands of displays showed up at the dock. Now if a rational person had been present this idea could have easily been killed by asking a few simple questions, but apparently none could be found so the idea went ahead.
Now back to my original beef, consumers no longer want to give out their personal information, especially e-mail address. Back in the Dot Com boon of 2000 so many companies were offering tons of free stuff just to get your marketing information, they turned around and sold that info to hundreds of companies, and then went out of business. Yet all of those poor consumers are still getting Spam by the thousands, junk mail, and enough telemarketing calls that most have unplugged their land lines to stop the onslaught.
The Miami Herald asks for this registration info now with the guise that it will enhance my experience on their site by having directed advertising, news stories, and traffic/weather reports. Well I hate to break it to the Herald but I don’t live in Miami, I don’t care about their weather or their traffic. All I want is to read their news columnist Dave Barry, who is syndicated around the globe. But no, in order to get to it now, I have to give them my name, e-mail address and zip code for now. Soon after marketing at the Herald finds out that thousands of people were willing to give up that information, then they will start asking for street address, and phone number.
Now some of you are saying to yourself, why not just lie about your information then it won’t bother you. Well I used to employ this tactic, but they are getting smarter, now they send you confirmation emails to make sure the address is valid, and they run Zip code checks to make sure you typed a Zip code that is legitimate. Plus why should I have to lie, when what do they get out of it? If they check with their IT department they can get a relatively accurate guess as to what country and even approximately where in that country I am visiting the site from due to the information that Internet Explorer gives out freely. I am going to add any emails from their site to my Spam filter so I am never going to read any of that. And now I have to remember another stupid login / password to another site.
In reality what happened was I went to a different site that reproduces Dave’s column to the web. So now they don’t have me looking at any advertising on their site at all. Now, one could say that I am no longer using up their bandwidth so they win, but if that is the case why do they have the information on the web anyway? They could significantly lower their cost of operating on the web by removing the content they want exclusive to registered users, and only send it to them in their daily newspapers.
In closing, is my email address and zip code worth annoying the crap out of your readers? Cause for now I will go other places to get my Dave Barry.
posted by Jason 4:09 PM |
Monday, April 26, 2004
So it turns out we are all babies
So I survived my hike and didn’t get lost, or starve. On the other hand I did freeze my butt off! The whole concept of saving on weight by skimping on the sleeping bag was a very bad idea. And also the man (or woman I don’t care which) that invented the Hammock should be burned at the stake upside down!
We walked through some beautiful countryside, even though some of it was burred pretty badly a few years ago in a large forest fire. The amount of re-growth was amazing. I took lots of pictures with a Digital camera that I borrowed from work. I think I am going to have to go get me one of those here soon. I really like the idea of being able to take as many pictures as I want and then just deleting the ones that didn’t turn out quite right.
Overall I did have fun on the trip, I just need to take a better sleeping bag next time.
posted by Jason 2:46 PM |
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Lost and Dead
This may be were I am at come Monday.
I have made plans with some friends of mine to go on a hiking/camping trip this weekend. Now I wouldn’t go if I really thought I would get killed, but the friends I am going with are not known for their ability to plan. In fact I have heard stories from some of them relating to trips like this gone bad in their past, including no food, no water, or no place to sleep except in a puddle next to the dog. Now these are three separate occasions not just a single bad trip. So my confidence is not really high that this is going to be one of the most wonderful trips ever, but I should come out with some good stories nonetheless.
I have packed most of my gear I think I will need, and I am sure there will be other stuff I will wish I had brought, but I do have to carry all this stuff for 3 days while hiking, so I am trying to go light.
I also am well aware that hiking by myself and not getting lost is much easier than hiking with three other people that all have their own ideas on how not to get lost.
Should be fun.
posted by Jason 11:19 AM |
Monday, April 19, 2004
So I worked all this last weekend doing an upgrade to one of the servers at work. Now I won’t go into detail about this, because that would put you all to sleep, but I will say that I worked very hard to get everything done perfectly, so that there would be no problems this morning. Well that never actually happens and I hadn’t really planned on no problems today. So it came as no surprise when I got a voicemail from my boss explaining that something wasn’t right.
Well I spent most of my morning fixing minor errors and such from the work over the weekend. But there were also larger problems occurring that weren’t related to my work, but nonetheless still something I needed to fix. So as I was working on this, there were a few people that came into my office with minor problems, ranging from not receiving an e-mail through not being able to open excel. Little things like this that an intelligent person would think weren’t life threatening to the company. So I worked on the bigger picture, like no one in the company being able to make long distance phone calls. For an international company this is somewhat important right?
Well I was amazed at how many people thought that their inability to receive an e-mail from home was far more important than anything I could have been working on at the time. In fact so much more important that when I told them I could not get to their problem right now because I was working on something else, that they went to my boss and told him that I was refusing to help them. Then they went to the president of the company and told him that the IT department was unwilling to solve their problem!!?!?!
If you need to talk to your wife CALL HER you IDIOT!!!!!
Sorry that may have been a little unnecessary.
posted by Jason 4:15 PM |
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Handing over the finances
Ok, some of you know me, most of you don’t, so here is a quick preview of how I handle my check book.
There you have it. I don’t handle my check book. I have gotten almost every bill I pay to accept on-line payments, and almost everywhere I go I use debit. I would never use cash again if fast food places would take debit. I pay bills on-line, debit card groceries, and pay friends via pay-pal. So I actually write 2 check per month. 1 to my city garbage, and 1 to my city water company. Why neither of these companies take on-line payments is beyond me, well neither even have web pages so that might have something to do with it.
None of that is really my point, my point is, that I don’t ever balance my checkbook. I don’t keep receipts, and I don’t record transactions anywhere other than in my brain. Now granted this has cost me a few times in overdraft fees and the like, but really it hasn’t been that bad. I just make a mental note of approximately how much a bill was and know that within a day it will be removed from my account, so I only need to remember it for about a day and a half, and then I can access my account balance on-line. This gives me the amount I have to spend.
Well my new fiancé is a little more meticulous with her finances, and every time I wad up a receipt I can see her recoil in horror. I can tell that she has made the surgical appointment already to have my debit card removed from my person. I really don’t think this will bother me that much, and I am looking forward to not having to worry about my bills being paid or that I forgot them. Because I am sure she will want to take over all of that just to be sure I don’t forget to tell her that I spent money.
So it is looking like I will be on the spousal allowance plan after October.
posted by Jason 2:51 PM |
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
So my new fiancé and I are going to get professional pictures taken next weekend. Neither of us have any good pictures of the other person, so we though having some done would be a good idea. Well she wants to look her best for the pictures so she is going to go tanning. Now she doesn’t want to be all tan and good looking standing next to a pasty white guy, so what options do we have.
It looks like only one. She wants me to go tanning with her. This seems like kind of a bad idea to me, but I can’t help but think I would look better. I have always given those people that go tanning regularly a bad time, and called it Fake’n’Baking. Now it looks like I get to join the ranks of those. She says this new tan she does takes out the UV rays all together so it isn’t bad for your skin at all and won’t cause wrinkles, but when fake’n’bake was first on the scene did they really think that it caused cancer? So what creepy disease am I going to get 30 years down the road that no one thought would be caused by this new type of tanning???
Wait what am I saying, 30 years, like I am going to live that long.
posted by Jason 1:37 PM |
Monday, April 12, 2004
Well on Saturday I ended up doing “Girlie Stuff” with my new fiancé. Now I call them girlie because none of them are things you would normally see men doing by themselves. But that doesn’t mean men don’t want to do them, or don’t enjoy doing them, they just either 1 don’t ever cross men’s mind as something needing to be done, or 2 they are afraid of looking gay. Well when you are doing those things with your fiancé you pretty much make the second point moot, and the first one is easily taken care of by the woman thinking they need to be done. So anyway, we went to the book store and purchased a Wedding Planner book.
Wow, ok now I don’t know how many of you women know what a guy thinks of these things, but when I saw 5 different huge books, all listing the crap that needs to be done for a wedding I was kind of overwhelmed. Well that wasn’t then end of it, now we had to pick which book we liked the best! So off she went through the books to find the best of all of them. I think she picked the one we ended up purchasing because it had a section with lots of pictures of flowers. I agreed to it because it had colored Tabs to tell you were the important sections were.
After we had that dilemma figured out now she needed a wedding magazine. I am not quite sure why a magazine was necessary, but then again who am I to argue? So we looked through a few, and holy Cow! Why does there need to be a quarterly periodical strictly about wedding flowers!? Wouldn’t 1 for each season pretty much cut it? And then you can re-use the same one year to year like an encyclopedia? Apparently not.
After that we went and looked at wedding bands. I had already picked out her engagement ring with the help of my little sister, but I did not select the band/wrap. I figured she could pick that one out in case she didn’t really like what I had picked as a ring, she could always hide it among other diamonds that she liked with the wrap. She ended up picking the one I was thinking was the best anyway, granted I am not sure how much of that was her own opinion or wanting to pick something that I liked, but I assume if she was willing to wear it for the rest of her life she must like something about it. As you may have guessed I have no confidence in my own ability to pick out jewelry.
Anyway we then sat around and filled out some of the pages in the Wedding Planner that we could. Overall I had a fun day even though it is not something I would have thought was fun before the day started.
posted by Jason 4:06 PM |
Thursday, April 08, 2004
So I am now engaged. Some of you probably have noticed that I haven’t updated in a while. Well the reason behind that was this wonderful woman that I have been dating. I have been spending so much time with her that I didn’t have time to be making any updates. I will try once again to get back into the swing of things around here, and get some more updates done. More to come.
posted by Jason 12:04 PM |