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Amex OPEN Forum Is First to Deploy FM's Conversationalist Ad Unit

Conversationalist unit for Amex

I spotted this at my former colleague James Gross’s blog.

“Here is what we call a Conversationalist unit, that runs between a post and comments. The unit is made to drive a call to action as a user finishes reading an article and is off to share, comment or engage in the next or related publisher’s work.

“This ad grabs the latest posts from the American Express OPEN Forum along with the corresponding hero images (on the left). On the right you have the most popular stories over the last 24 hours you can scroll through.”

He closes his post with the evolution of a marketer (I’m picturing that bumper sticker with the monkey -> cave man -> upright man -> soccer player).

Brands have customers -> Lucky brands have fans -> Really lucky brands build an audience.

Voice Posting Goes Mainstream with New WordPress Feature

Three years ago this month HP and Federated Media launched a campaign that allowed bloggers to publish audio-posts from their mobile phones — dubbed voice posts. From the ChasNote write-up then:

“Earlier this week, several FM sites rolled out their first ‘voice posts,’ a new series of editorial segments served up as audio files on blog sites. HP is the sponsor of the series, meaning their logo appears under the audio file with copy that says ‘voice post technology sponsored by HP iPaq 510.’ HP also bought banner ads on the sites. Beyond that, though, HP has no relationship to or influence over the content of the voice posts”

Old School Telephone

Now WordPress is making it easier for all bloggers to publish audio-posts. From Mashable:

“You can already write and publish WordPress blog posts from your iPhone, iPad, Android, e-mail and desktop, but now you can also post audio via your phone.

“Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg announced the new feature for WordPress.com earlier today. It’s rather simple: enable ‘Post by Voice’ in your dashboard and you will receive a phone number and a unique code for posting audio from your phone to your blog. You can post up to one hour of audio at a time.”

Awesome. Congrats, WordPress, for turning this idea into a real product that everyone can use. And congrats, HP and Goodby, for the foresight!

(Disclosures: I’m a co-founder of Federated Media and was employed by the company in 2007 when this idea was hatched.)

Jelly Belly Graffiti Contest in Facebook

Allowing fans of your brand to invite you into their Facebook newsfeeds is nice, but encouraging them draw their hopes and dreams inside a logo-embossed silhouette of your product takes it to a whole ‘nother level.

I’ve been a huge fan of brand-sponsored Graffiti drawing contests since BMW, Dell and other brands pioneered the approach, along with Mark Kantor and his partners at Graffiti. That was back when I was at FM and involved in selling the idea to brands. Now I’m just an impartial fan. Keep em coming, Graffiti!

Here’s the Jelly Belly contest.

FM's CM Summit NYC: Day One Recap

At the .

Lots of live Tweeting at #cmsummit, too. Here’s .

Tweet from CM Summit re Pete Spande

Time for a New Adventure

I’ve learned so much about writing from John Battelle and all the FM authors I’ve collaborated with since 2005, but I’m still having trouble finding the right words to announce that I’ll be leaving FM.

FM Logo

It was almost exactly 4 years ago that John, Andre Torrez, Jen Charette and I huddled around a whiteboard upstairs from a garage in Ross, CA, trying to convince ourselves that we could convince brand advertisers to support independent blog authors with their media dollars. Along the way, we’ve been luckier than we could have imagined back then. Our greatest luck was finding a group of kindred spirits to help us turn this idea into a media business. I’m so grateful for the support of the independent publishers who are rethinking how brands can join the conversations they facilitate; to the marketing innovators at large companies who put their necks out and entrusted us with their brands; and to the 80 some-odd people who share a passion for the FM idea so deeply they’ve put it on their business cards. You are the greatest teachers I’ve ever known. A special thanks to you, John, for giving me the opportunity to help shape FM, and for having the faith to make me your partner in crime.

It’s time, though, for my next adventure.

Digg Logo

In the coming weeks I’ll be joining some old friends and business colleagues at Digg, to be its publisher and chief revenue officer. In the spring of 2006, I first met Kevin Rose and Jay Adelson when they came up to Sausalito to talk to Battelle and me about an FM-Digg partnership to bring brands and sponsors to Digg. For the next year and half I spent lots of time with Mike Maser and John Moffett, two of the business leads at Digg. A small group of us (some on the FM payroll, others on the Digg payroll) worked with Intel to bring the Digg community some new product experiences, such as and , a labs project that provided a view of Digging activity at the topic and subtopic-level. We also partnered with IBM, Sony and others to build new, of Digg that aggregated and republished already-Dugg content about their own brands.

In the grand scheme of online advertising, these were small experiments. But the Digg process made an impression on me. Sometimes the best sponsorship ideas came from Kevin, ostensibly the head of product. Other times, Mike (the head of business) hit the pause button on a half baked — but fully funded — idea to make sure the sponsor integration wouldn’t disrupt the authenticity of conversation among the Digg audience. The best media businesses always work this way. Advertising doesn’t perform for the advertisers if it doesn’t also resonate with the audience; it succeeds only when it enhances the product and the conversation among those audience members.

And while Digg is a news service that’s grown to more than 35 million monthly readers over the past 5 years, it’s still early days for figuring out the models that bring brands into conversation with the Digg community. It may be the biggest media start-up (if you can still call it that) I’ll ever get the chance to work for, but it’s a project that’s as new and inspiring (and daunting) as the sketches Battelle, Andre, Jen and I scrawled on that whiteboard in 2005.

Maybe it’s time to spark up that Digg-FM partnership again! In the meantime, FM runs in my blood. To my friends at FM: See you at Red’s Javahouse and Sala NYC soon and often. I owe you more than I can ever repay.

MORE: Battelle’s post at the , including word on the promotion of two of the greatest stars in digital media: Pete Spande and Josh Mattision. And Jay’s post at the .

Mediapost on Dice's Best Job Ever Video Series

From Mediapost:

Dice Best Job Ever Image

“Thinking beyond standard banner ads and microsites, niche career site Dice.com and agency Publicis tapped media companies Federated Media and Next New Networks to launch an original video series. The Web hub and video series, “Best Job Ever,” chronicles the workday lives and personal stories of high-tech employees….

“The highly collaborative campaign illustrates the evolution of Federated Media, which launched four years ago as a syndicated ad network for popular blogs like Boing Boing, Digg, and Dooce.”

Hey, come on. We’ve always been something more evolved than an ad network for blogs! More on that, if you’re interested, at FM’s blog.

Microsoft-sponsored ExecTweets in BusinessWeek

BusinessWeek’s piece on the “Twitter ecosystem” includes ExecTweets, a project sponsored by Microsoft and pulled together with the help of Twitter, Universal McCann and FM.

“Big advertisers are keen to get their message in front of certain Twitter niche groups, such as business executives. Microsoft is sponsoring Exectweets, a site that streams in Twitter musings from business leaders including Virgin Chairman Richard Branson and AOL co-founder Steve Case (pictured). The site was created by Federated Media, which shares revenue from Exectweets with Twitter.”

Steve Case

CM Summit NYC: Agenda and Speaker List

Speakers from American Express, Procter & Gamble, Facebook, General Electric, Comscore, the Huffington Post and more Vinyan full

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FM: Intersection of Advertising and Creative Lines

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Save the Date: CM Summit NYC, June 1-2, 2009

CM Summit NYC Logo

Don’t miss the third Conversational Marketing Summit, in New York on June 1 and 2. A killer line up of speakers is coming together, including (so far): Facebook’s Mike Hoefflinger, Microsoft’s Scott Howe, HuffPo’s Arianna Huffington, GE’s Jen Walsh, Google’s Eileen Naughton, and MTV’s Richard Kang.