ThinkGeek using viral marketing

Over the past two years, I’ve learned quite a bit about marketing. I’ve learned to be more of a skeptic in most things as well. There was a story today on Reddit entitled: “Thinkgeek: Officially our best-ever cease and desist letter ever”.

At first I thought it was pretty funning. You can read all about it here:

After reading the entire thing, however, I now believe it was a viral marketing campaign. It’s purely genius too. Make up a story like this, and then post it on tech news sites like Reddit, Slashdot, and Digg. This quickly made it to the front page of Reddit, and Thinkgeek probably received hundreds of thousands of unique visitors instantly.

Now, this could be totally legit, but even if that is the case, this is still an amazing marketing gimmick. This is how you get rich on the internet. You have to draw attention to your site, and then monetize that extra boost in traffic.

The New Cosmos

I’m a big fan of Carl Sagan and his excellent television show from the 80’s called Cosmos. If you’ve never seen it, check it out on Netflix. It’s great if you like documentaries on science.

I’ve recently discovered a new television show from Great Britain called, The Wonders of the Solar System. In it, Professor Brian Cox seems to pick up where Carl Sagan left off. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Cosmos so far. However, I would critique that some of the camera work is just too “modern”, and by that, I mean that they zoom/pan around Brian Cox way too much. This is a trend in cinematography that I just can’t stand. Other than that, the show is great. I feel that Cosmos was a bit more ordered and historical. It seems to have a clear path which Carl Sagan took the viewer down. This new series seems a bit more chaotic.

I think it could use more direction, but it’s the best modern day version of Cosmos around.

Steve Jobs at the D8 Conference and His Comments on Journalism

I was just watching the interview with Steve Jobs at the D8 Conference on iTunes. Around 41 minutes into the interview, there is a discussion about how the iPad is going to help journalists.

Jobs makes his second hint in the interview of his distaste for bloggers. His first happened earlier when they were discussing Gizmodo’s blogger who published pictures of the new iPhone. One could tell that he was a bit bitter about that situation, and he made comments that showed that in his opinion blogging is not journalism.

I totally agree with this point. Blogging isn’t journalism by default. As the interviewers pointed out, however, many journalists have turned to blogging as their medium of choice.

During the discussion of the iPad, Jobs points out that he doesn’t want to see us become a nation of bloggers. He states that he wants to help publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post sell their news.

Here is what I don’t agree with. These publications are failing because they have not been providing good journalism. All I see from the media, including news papers, is biased rhetoric or celebrity junk. Bloggers are doing the same, but I’ve found that in the bee’s hive that is the blogosphere, there is actually some good content. Some of that content is much better than the junk our fine journalists at CNN and such have been reporting.

If these publications want to make money, they should advertise. That’s where most of their money comes from anyway. They don’t make a ton from News Paper sales. They make enough there to pay for the materials and printing costs. Advertisements are where the money is at. They know that. They should just work on their advertising model.

Used Acoustic Guitar

I’ve been working on a new site called used acoustic guitar for the last couple of days. While setting up various product feeds to generate a little revenue, I discovered that there are some amazing deals on used guitars these days. This is especially true for very expensive guitars such as Taylor and Martin acoustics.

I’ve recently started playing guitar more, after a few years of rarely touching it. For years, that’s all I did. Now that I have a wife and a few kids, it’s increasingly hard to find the time to play. I had also lost some interest in it. I’m getting back into because I’m learning a new technique that I’ve never been able to learn before called Travis Picking. Now that I’m concentrating heavily on learning this technique, I’m finding that it isn’t too difficult and that it’s like learning the guitar all over again.

Setting up the site has helped me realize that there are tons of awesome deals out there though. I guess that stems from the very hard time we are going through economically. There are many people selling their things just so they can pay their bills. If you have money, this is a buyers market all around. There are great deals on many things.

Adobe Cancels 64bit Linux Flash beta

For many years, the internet has been plagued by a dependency on the proprietary software known as Adobe Flash. There are plenty of open alternatives that could be used, but from the beginnings of the internet, ShockWave and Flash have been used by many websites.

Flash has been used for everything from buttons and banners to games and complete user interfaces. It’s a very powerful tool, but it is outdated and is maintained exclusively by Adobe. While the Flash player browser plugin is completely free, the tools to create Flash content are not. There in lies the trouble. Being closed source, Flash depends on Adobe development. There are many people who use 64-bit Linux as their primary OS. Adobe has canceled development on the 64-bit version of there Flash plugin. This means that simple things like Youtube videos won’t work on 64bit Linux.

This is why proprietary formats are bad. Hopefully things will improve as more and more webmasters turn to HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript for their Dynamic content needs.