Spreading Ad Hoc News

vertical-responseI was just trying to use our marketing software to send a message to our beta users and found that the website was down. No idea what is going on. Because the website is down I can’t even look at the company’s blog to see what is happening. So I went to search.twitter.com and immediately saw that other people experienced the same problem. But nobody from the company was there to let us know what was happening…

Lesson learned: when your server goes down, your team should post a brief explanation in various places to let people know what is happening. Twitter is a good place for spreading your ad hoc news, particularly when you website is down. Very fast. Very easy. Potentially big impact. Good stuff.


The company I was referring to is Vertical Response. As soon as they woke up in California, they started keeping people up to date on Twitter. See a screen shot of their messages below. Well done guys!



And when you are doing it really well, then you replace your homepage with something like this and simply redirect people to Twitter for more updates. Loving it:


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Random Traffic Grows Real Traffic

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on how Microsoft was making some good/viral TV clips for their (at that point) upcoming video game Halo 3. Problem was that these videos were on TV only, nobody at the marketing agency thought it necessary to post them on YouTube, but enthusiasts corrected that. My blog post listed these videos, and can be found here.

Since I posted this article, it has increasingly gathered readers. 100% of them come via search engines, looking for “Halo 3” (I am amazed that some search engine ranks my article so highly! still can’t figure out who that is exactly). I bet you none of these viewers have any interest in marketing, start-ups or any of the other things tend to write about. So, is this traffic actually worth anything?

Turns out, the answer is yes. Since this traffic has increased, the traffic from search engines to my other articles has increased with exactly the same rate. In other words Halo 3 has the same proportion of overall searches now than it did a month ago. When you look at visits of ‘halo 3’ searchers to my site, this will give you some impression of how much the overall volume has increased:


What this means. This is a virtuous circle effect. More traffic drives more traffic. An article that people pick up “for the wrong reasons” can indirectly drive high quality of traffic to the site. When more people click on my site via Google, my Page rank increases. The increased Page Rank drives more traffic. More search clicks increase my Page Rank, etc etc

I think this trend will continue until an equilibrium point is reached at which point the effect will diminish. Or maybe the search engine takes the traffic away again. In any case, until either of the two happens, I am happy to lean back and see the traffic grow. I actually didn’t post any articles this week partially just to see what would happen to he traffic: still growing. Nice.

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Yesterday I got a call from my bank, HSBC. A young guy from my local branch called in to briefly talk to me. The conversation went a little like this:

HSBC: “Hi, I am just calling to follow up on the discussion you have had with one of my colleagues about the mortgage.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

HSBC: “The mortgage…?”

Me: “No”

HSBC: “So, you did not have a discussion about a mortgage?”

Me: “No”

HSBC: “Well,…are you interested in a mortgage?”

Me: “No”

HSBC: “Because, we have some very interesting offers…”

Me: “Listen, I don’t have a mortgage, I don’t want a mortgage and I will not be wanting one for some time. Do you think it is a good idea take up a mortgage right now?”

HSBC: “Aeh…”

Me: “Good bye, have a nice day.”

Excuse me? WTF? HSBC, the bank that lost over $10bn in the mortgage crisis in the US thinks it is a great idea for me to take up a mortgage in the UK, just as the market here is about to crash?

Yup, that is true, as I found out when I searched for this on Google News. They have a major push to sell people UK mortgages right now. See this Financial Times article here. Just to be clear, these guys know that I don’t have a mortgage and they tried to sell me one. They are not trying to help me get out of a tight spot.

Fantastic. These guys will never learn. I guess it doesn’t matter what is right or wrong, let’s just make a quick buck and to hell with everyone else.

Maybe my adaptation of the VCwear.com T-shirt says it all:

VC Wear

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