One Change that Will Make iTunes Almost Perfect

Let me just tell you, I love iTunes. Seriously. I don't think I'll ever purchase another CD again (unless it's not available on iTunes, of course). It's so easy to use and allows me to listen to my music in so many ways, I just have no desire to use another service or store. 

Having admitted my serious crush, there is still at least one major flaw with iTunes that, if corrected, would make me a loyal brand evangelist for life. And the only reason this one thing needs to be fixed is because it has already cost me at least $30 that I can't get back.

The problem comes when you purchase music. Once you've purchased, iTunes remembers WHAT you've purchased. You download each song, movie, music video, or podcast onto your PC or Mac and it's stored on your hard drive. That's great, until your hard drive breaks down, is stolen, or reclaimed by your employer. 

I purchased several albums on my work laptop. I used it all the time, both at home and in the office. I was totally planning on burning my new purchases to CD, but never had the opportunity. I was laid off at work, and in an instant, the laptop was no longer mine. I lost those new albums because I hadn't transmitted them sooner. 

This is the problem. If I'm downloading from iTunes, and iTunes keeps track of what I purchase, WHY CAN'T I DOWNLOAD THE SAME THING AGAIN FOR FREE?!?!?!

This is my dilemma. Seriously, how hard would that be? That way, if my computer dies or is lost or stolen, iTunes would always allow me to re-download ONLY the songs or albums or shows that I had already purchased. Sounds perfect to me. 

If you're listening, iTunes, this is my holiday wish: change iTunes so that I can re-download what I've purchased so that I will always have access to the music or videos I have paid for, and you will have my loyalty forever!!!! This is an excellent idea. You know it is. You know I will love you forever if you do this!

As the cheeseballz say, Let's make it happen!
 

FOX Locks Out House Fans for 8 Days

Already very late to the party, FOX continues to prove that they don't understand customer satisfaction. This time last year, you couldn't watch all primetime television shows from FOX. Only a few were available, and you had to watch them on MySpace.com/fox. 

This Fall season, FOX got their butts in gear and provided their own streaming video player on their own website. And guess what? You can FINALLY watch House MD online! Hurray!

But wait! There's a catch! You can only watch House 8 days after it airs on television! WHAT?!?!?!? If you happen to miss the show's original air date, you have to wait until one day AFTER the next week's episode. 

This is yet another network television company's attempt to encourage you the viewer to watch the original airing. Which makes no real sense, since FOX can make money through online advertising before and in the middle of shows like every other television station online. 

This is a case of telling the customer to stick it. FOX doesn't care that you can't afford TiVo. FOX doesn't care that you have a family and a life where you can't always sit in front of the boob tube. They want you to watch their show when it airs or they're going to penalize you and make you wait.

The other major television networks take a maximum of 48 hours after television broadcast to post episodes online. Most are available the morning after.

So, FOX, are you going to start thinking about we the people? Or should we just accept that you think you can put us on hold and we won't do anything about it? 

My First Fantasy Football Experience

Yahoo Fantasy FootballIt's an understatement to say that my first experience with fantasy football began with a whimper, not a bang. One week into the 2007-2008 NFL season, Aaron asks me to fill in the last slot in their fantasy football league. Fantasy leagues have been a sort of mystery to me. I've known about them for the past five years, but never cared to learn more. 

I've been a little curious, though, so I agreed to give this a shot. I followed the email link to Yahoo! Sports and created my team – the DoubleDs. Learning as I went, I set up my personal preferences for my team's draft order. I ranked quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and team defenses (forgetting all about kickers). I had my preferences set for the automatic draft, only to find out that some guys can't be present for the draft and apparently can't figure out that an automatic draft means that they don't actually have to be there. So I get the news that we're postponing the fantasy league draft another week.

Two days ago, I hear from Aaron that there are "technical difficulties" with Yahoo! that will require us to join a chat room and do a manual draft. Technical difficulties in this instance means that someone doesn't understand the Internet and how to use it. 

The end result is that I, the guy who had his players ranked for the automatic draft, end up being the only guy who gets screwed. I couldn't make it to the manual draft because my wife and I have a pregnancy class to attend on Saturday afternoons.

THE RESULT:

I get home on Saturday evening to find that I am stuck with Matt L., Matt H. and Matt S. as my quarterbacks. I have no decent wide receivers. My tight end is a loser. The only plus is that I have Adrian Peterson, Clinton Portis, and the Steelers defense. Luckily, I managed to find Dallas Clark available and picked him up as my starting tight end. 

In the end, I have a 5 or 6 out of 10 while at least two other teams in my fantasy league are 8s. It doesn't matter much to me, except that I now see how Fantasy Football COULD be fun (assuming you actually get to pick your players).

A word of advice: don't join a league where the other guys don't know how to use the Internet. Other people's lack of expertise could bite you in the ass.  

The Next Internet Millionaire

Don't hate. The following is a promotional piece i think you should read. I won't do this often, so check it out and give me some feedback once you've visited the link:

How would you like the opportunity to do a joint venture with one of the biggest names in Internet marketing? How would you like the opportunity to win $25,000 in cash? And how would you like the opportunity to be a part of Internet history? If it sounds to good to be true, this is one time that the truth is actually better than it sounds! Joel Comm has created the world's first Internet reality show, and he is inviting you to take part by being a contestant on The Next Internet Millionaire!

This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity unlike anything you've ever seen before. All you have to do is film a short video audition in order to have a chance at being on the show! It doesn't matter if you are a newbie or experienced Internet user. It doesn't matter if you can create a professional video or if you just have a simple webcam. It doesn't even matter if you currently have any product ideas! All that matter is that you have the DESIRE to be The Next Internet Millionaire! Go to this page right away and learn how to submit your video audition…

And by the way, even if you don't want to be on the show, I highly recommend you get on the show mailing list as you will learn a lot just from watching this groundbreaking event! The Next Internet Millionaire… Will it be you?

To your success!

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading

TED.comThanks to StumbleUpon, the most enjoyable social media/bookmarking site thus far (and the official choice of ADHD users everywhere), I was introduced to TED.com last month. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. TED began in 1984, bringing together the best and brightest from those three industries and thought groups. Since the '80s, TED has evolved into an annual invitation only conference where the most influential and/or innovative thinkers present the talk of their lives (limited to 18 minutes). TED.com makes the best of these talks available for free online.  

Once a year, 50 speakers share with more than 1,000 visitors in Monterey, California. Topics cover business, science, the arts, music, and global issues. The best TEDTalks are provided online via streaming video at TED.com.

Granted, the majority of speakers appear to be atheistic proponents of evolution. This is somewhat disappointing, though not entirely surprising. Past speakers have included the likes of Billy Graham, so it's fair to say that the organization is open to most ideas as long as they are presented in the proper fashion.

The recorded TEDTalks are worth watching. Some are more mentally stimulating than others (check out the talks on memes and, surprisingly, Tony Robbins). 137 presentations are currently available online. Additional talks will be released on an ongoing basis. 

TEDGlobal is a conference held every other year at various locations worldwide. The basic format is the same, but these conferences tend to focus more on development.

The TEDPrize is an annual prize awarded to three individuals who receive $100K and the granting of "One Wish to Change the World". The winners unveil their wishes at the annual conference, and the TED community comes together, pooling their resources, to grant each wish. Visit TED.com to learn more about past wishes granted. 

For those of you accustomed to the collegiate Pew / Paideia society or other philosophical and sociological communities, these talks will resonate along the lines of cultural examination of what is, what has been, and what could be.  

The only question remaining is, how does one get invited to TED? Send me an invitation. I'm in. 

3 Highly Effective Methods for Reaching Kidd Kraddick Fans Online

It's been a while since I offered Kidd Kraddick both online marketing and blogging advice. Now is a good time to back up those initial tips with a few extra methods of online promotion that the #1 morning radio show in America needs to execute in order to grow the brand online. 

As a side note, I started using a Mac notebook computer since my last post about the KKITM show, and discovered to my dismay that the "Listen Live" option does not appear to function properly on the Mac. It opens the same window for a media player, but instead of listening to the remainder of the show as I still can on my Dell, the Mac plays a repeated loop of the show every five minutes. So I only get to hear 5 minutes of the show without closing the application and restarting. This is apparently only an issue with my laptop, however, since a coworker of mine said he's listened to the show on his Mac with no problems. So I'll put that complaint on hold while I investigate my laptop settings.  

My issues with listening live online drove me to these additional online marketing recommendations. These are predicated on the assumption that there is an audience to be had out there that cannot listen to part or all of the show each morning due to work restrictions or radio/internet availability. Here we go. 

Number One: The New and Comprehensive Kidd Kraddick in the Morning Show Blog
Cover all topics including funny quotes and pics in each day's post. The blog can be posted to hourly/twice an hour during the show for people who are not allowed to play music/radio out loud or listen to headphones but still have access to the Internet. 

***RSS Feed Bonus***
Assuming the blog is built on a WordPress platform (non-negotiable, must-have for maximum usability), The show blog comes equipped with at least one automatic RSS Feed. For workers who cannot be seen logging in to Kiddlive.com or any other website that looks cool or fun, the RSS feed can be read in various formats and through various feed readers, which the user can select according to their work needs and preferences. This RSS feed puts the regularly updated show posts into their feed reader so that they can select the time frame they missed and catch up with only the info they haven't accessed yet.

Number Two: A Double Opt-In Daily Email Update
Some readers might not have a clue about RSS Feeds or might not be able to access non work related content online. A sign-in form on the KiddLive.com website would allow people to register for email updates that can be sent to either their personal or professional email addresses. The email would be formatted in rich text only and HTML in order to reach all audiences successfully. Daily email updates summarize the day's show (providing either brief summaries or exact copies of the blogs that are already written online) in a format that everyone with email access at work can enjoy at their own convenience. 

Kidd Kraddick benefits from this process as well by cultivating an extremely targeted list of email addresses. The show can sell a couple tasteful ads to be posted on each email and thereby add another potentially lucrative stream of revenue. It goes without saying that an email marketing campaign such as this must follow email best practices guidelines including a one click unsubscribe option at the bottom of each email and providing legitimate subject line titles. An additional bi-monthly email list can be cultivated via sign-up which sends more advertisements/schedule updates/concert announcements/etc to those who opt in for it.

An additional monthly email would be sent to all subscribers containing a poll and requesting user feedback on how to improve the effectiveness and enjoyment of the KKITM email updates. This is an essential part of effective customer relationship management, allowing the users a voice to help tailor the product towards their needs.

Number Three (Optional): Full-Fledged Transcript of Each Show
While most people will not take the time to read a full transcript of 4 hrs of talk each day, A full-fledged transcript provides the added benefit of natural search engine optimization (SEO). This means that the more content you preserve from the show, the more phrases you can rank for in the search engines. This third option is labeled "optional" simply because it competes to some degree with the Show Blog recommended in #1. Some of the content would obviously be duplicate, which some search marketers will warn against. 

The overall concept here is twofold: a complete transcript allows for natural optimization and will drive at least a trickle of search traffic to the website, thus creating the opportunity to gain new listeners and extend the fan base; the extensive content also provides hundreds of opportunities for text link ads. I know of an ad company or two who would go crazy buying text link ads on the Kiddlive site. It's not a lucrative ad revenue model, but it is a stream of revenue and traffic generation which could likely be implemented using a voice to text transcription application so that the majority of the process is automated.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  

The beauty of interactive marketing (Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Blogging, Email Marketing, etc) is that it is customizable to the user. Nowhere else does the user have as much power to help create the ultimate entertainment experience. Organizations like the DFWIMA (DFW Interactive Marketing Association) exist to help corporations understand the interactive marketing industry and to excel in said market. 

Radio, television, and print ads are the traditional form of marketing revenue. While they are still essential for branding (building brand awareness in the minds and social lives of the public), they are completely untrackable. This means that advertisers cannot measure the results of their campaigns. They can tailor a campaign towards a specific market at a specific time, but the results of the campaign are completely immeasurable. Email and web-related ads, however, are completely trackable. Track ad impressions, click through rates, and user feedback to hone your ad campaigns and generate more ROI.

Radio shows are missing out on millions of interactive advertising dollars due to the lack of comprehensive online presence. Each stream of online marketing is valuable because it reaches people the others can't, while simultaneously providing real-time analytics (measurable results) in most cases. 

Papaya Clothing Website Is Live!

After more than a year of waiting, the Papaya Clothing Store website has finally launched! No more complaining or visiting CultureFeast to post 200+ comments about how much you want to shop at Papaya Online.

Go there today at PapayaClothing.com and take advantage of their Really Big Sale where you can get up to 30% off Papaya clothes online. The wait is over! Shop ’til you drop!

And feel free to keep visiting me here at CultureFeast. You don’t have to forget me, just because Papaya’s around.

***UPDATE***


As of Friday evening, the Papaya website is apparently down again. I don’t consider this to be a false site launch because I’m not seeing the placeholder that was there before. The server simply cannot be found, which may mean that the company’s server was overloaded with traffic upon opening. All types of technical problems are possible. I wouldn’t worry about it. Either they launched the site and changed their minds (which makes no sense) or they’re servers can’t handle the traffic and they’ll need to upgrade.

Check back here and I’ll update this page as I hear news.

*** UPDATE 2***

I just checked the Papaya site (July 31, 2007 11am CST) and it’s back up and running. Go check it out.

The Need for Reputation Management Increases Across the Web

As I mentioned previously in ReputationAdvisor.com, the "web 2.0" space (sorry Nathan – I know how much you love that term) has grown and matured to the point that the what is written or posted on the Internet can make or break a company's profitability. Reputation was a priceless commodity back in 1950s small town America. Then cities expanded and companies branched out and a bad rep here or there still allowed for success in other towns or regions.

The consumer had no way to expose a fraud or a bad deal to the masses. Newspapers, books, and radio were the primary methods of communicating to the public. Television obviously took over as the most popular mass media communications method, but the stations were run by the rich minority, leaving the public with little more than gossip and petitions to spread the word of malpractice. 

The Internet levels the playing field once and for all. Even the most average person can create a blog or join a forum and post their experiences and opinions of the various businesses they've encountered. We live in an unprecedented age of consumer power. A timely message delivered in the right place online by a single consumer can literally cost a business millions of dollars in sales and reputation repair. 

The Internet also allows for corporations to flood the space with positive messages and claims to good intentions and benevolent deeds. Any business willing to dedicate some time and money can seriously spin their online image in any way they see fit.

The Web is the battlefield, and some corporations are just waking up to the realization that cyber slander can destroy their profits. I'm thinking of one small to mid-sized oil and gas company in particular. A disgruntled ex-salesperson posted a slanderous accusation against the company on a very influential investor forum. This forum was already crooked to begin with, since the forum owner propagated false accusations against similar oil and gas companies in order to win the confidence of the seeking investor. The owner would then direct the disillusioned investor toward an "honest" organization which he coincidentally benefited from. 

This is a black hat marketing method which earns no respect from me. This forum abuses the power of its influence to slander others in order to keep the spoils. But this oil and gas company now finds itself in a dilemma: what do we do about these horrible things which our ex-employees and competitors are saying about us?

That is the million dollar question (or multi-million dollar, as I've seen businesses drop like flies). Bad online reputation may not end your business, but it can undo years of costly progress.

If you and your business have already suffered loss from bad online reputation, there is no time to wait. Contact a reputation management professional immediately. 

If your business is expanding on the Web, now is the time to put a campaign into place that will protect your reputation in the future. Unsatisfied customers are inevitable. You can't please everyone all the time. But you can proactively protect your business from bad press that could cripple your business. 

For more information about protecting your good name on the Web, contact me at daniel@culturefeast.com.  

Read Print Offers Free Online Classic Books

Read Print logo

Good ‘ol StumbleUpon led me to an excellent literary resource online. Students, teachers, and literary fanatics worldwide can now access the works of more than 90 classic authors at ReadPrint.com. Supported by Google Adsense, Read Print is an excellent free resource to avid readers everywhere.

Authors include Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Sophocles, H. G. Wells, and Virgil. Check it out! No more need to spend money on even the cheap versions of the classics at Barnes & Noble.

Safari for Windows is a Good Idea?

That’s a question, not a statement. I was all excited by the prospect of faster download time, so I jumped at the opportunity to try the Safari 3 BETA. I tried Google first (of course), and all was well. I typed in CultureFeast.com, and the site looked good. By this time, I think to myself, I should blog about this! Safari rocks!

I log into my WordPress dashboard and click Write Post only to find that my CMS is all jacked up!!! The title and post fields are tiny and hiding down in the right hand sidebar below the fold. What the heck? WordPress isn’t Safari-friendly? Seriously?

Talk about a buzz kill. I’m back in Firefox just so I could comfortably write this complaint.