Blogs.com published a Top-Ten List for the Tour De France 2009 that we compiled for them. Note that the format of the list requires a blog to have an RSS feed. We can't deeplink into a site like Versus or Bicycling for Bobke's blog without it. The list isn't exhaustive, limited to ten, so we had to choose. Please add what blogs you follow in the comments. We can extend the list here.
We also hope Horner blogs about the race with notes on what he would've done on the hilly stages had he been there! We'll discuss the race at length on the Hub, as soon as it starts.
Andy Schleck -- Andy is a Tour favorite and brother of Frank, another racer. He's aggressive on the road and writing about his experiences as a professional cyclist.
Cycling Fans Anonymous -- A blog written by a critic of professional cycling, including the doping controversies.
Cyclocosm -- An independent view of bike racing with in-depth commentary.
Peloton Post -- Professional photos from the Tour de France, uploaded daily.
Podium Cafe -- Bike racing blog with extensive coverage of the Tour.
Road Diaries -- Rider diaries, tech talk, and more from SRAM, a bicycle components manufacturer.
Today, we're launching a feature on Image Search to help you find images that you can use for free, while respecting the wishes of artists and creators. This feature allows you to restrict your Image Search results to images that have been tagged with licenses like Creative Commons, making it easier to discover images from across the web that you can share, use and even modify. Your search will also include works that have been tagged with other licenses, like GNU Free Documentation license, or are in the public domain.
I love creative marketing - especially when it is designed to save lives: The first heavy rains after summer bring the highest death toll on New Zealand roads. To alert people to the dangers of driving in the wet, we created billboards that bleed everytime it rained. This year in Papakura, there were no deaths during the easter period.
The use of social networks is definitely forking. For some it is about participation. For others, it's about broadcasting.
Put differently, people who are members of online social networks are not so much “networking” as they are “broadcasting their lives to an outer tier of acquaintances who aren’t necessarily inside the Dunbar circle,” says Lee Rainie, the director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a polling organisation. Humans may be advertising themselves more efficiently. But they still have the same small circles of intimacy as ever.
Online, the NYTimes story on PR in the Valley is interesting but innocuous. In print it takes a whole new sense of import as it spreads cross the front page of the business section. A couple of observations:
PR has and always will be about relationships.
It is also about good counsel and strategy - neither of which Wordnik are getting in any kind of an effective dose. Saying that, and having spent more than ten years doling out counsel, clients usually get what they deserve.
PR is multidimensional - the Blogeratti and Blogmedia are one of the many "messengers" and mediums available. That Wordnik would pursue such a one dimensional strategy is foolhardy and reflected in their prominence. Again, they are probably getting what they are paying for.
Agreed, you'd better be able to plug into the new media elite to get the message out. But if that's all you are planning to do, good luck.
Nowhere in the story do we see examples of "influencing the social web". What we see is the age-old techniques employed by flacks of all shapes and sizes - reaching prominent messengers to get the message out. What the savvy are now doing is activating and engaging with communities - that's very different than opening the rolodex and making a few calls.
Awareness does not equal action. We need a fundamental shift in our focus from awareness to action. Where awareness isn't activated effectively, businesses starve of traffic and revenue.
Successful engagement through the "A List" will make your clients feel great but isn't any kind of predicator of success. In fact, they are largely irrelevant. Scoble makes this point nicely - when he quit Microsoft the news first hot through 15 nobody's at a conference. At the end of the day, the news creates the echo and the social web has democratized distribution. Story over strategic relationships. (his manifesto is still as relevant as ever)
What screams throughout this story is that neither the hacks or flacks necessarily get what the new art of social media relations and community engagement is about. And as Michael rightly points out, you need look no further than the traffic pattern at Wordnik to see this. This is a point reinforced by Margit in the story:
“Few tech companies with absolutely no P.R. have built a user base successfully,” said Margit Wennmachers, a co-founder of OutCast Communications, a P.R. agency in San Francisco that opened in 1997. “They need P.R. to put the booster under that rocket ship.”
The thing that gets me is the notion that "The cost of the building blocks of all electronic activity—storage, processing, and bandwidth—has fallen so far that it is now approaching zero" is a truism. Really?
I pay a small fortune for a DSL line... even more for ATT.. then I'm surrounded by systems, storage, displays, TVs, Kindles... all of them priced in the many hundreds of dollars. Actually, what we have going on here is an attempt by the hardware makers (Amazon Kindle) to subsidize their hardware by dominating the margin in content. They are simply attaching a new profit pool and looking to create a virtuous circle inside the customer relationship - which they now hope to own. Nowhere does "free" feature in this equation.
For the maker, there is no question that the irrevocable march of technology is driving distribution costs down. But rather than pass those costs on to consumers what seems to be happening is that the new entrants are absorbing the prior profit pool.
As much as I am looking forward to the book I'm also fearful I'm going to read another tome by the technology elite who seem to be swimming in free while the rest of us pay. The reality is that a $300+ Kindle + books at $9.95 don't equal free.
Second, "free" is relative and a product going "viral" via it being free is just one strategy. "Coolness, for instance, could also result in a viral swarm. As could word of mouth. Free is absolutely a distribution and marketing strategy but it isn't a business model. That is, unless you plan to make no profit.