Google Reader Gets Cut: Alternative RSS Reader Options [Video]

Need to replace your RSS aggregator before Google pulls the plug on reader? Here are a few options for you:

Feedly – Magazine or list style reader that currently works with Google’s API
Pulse – Displays feeds as photos
The Old Reader – super similar to Google Reader & will allow you to import your existing feeds

You’ll have until June to get into the habit of scouring your favorite headlines from a new location, but don’t put it off too long!


Facebook’s New Status Prompts

The “What’s on your mind?” prompt in the status message box of Facebook has finally been updated. There are now a couple rotating prompts with user name attached to incite people to spill the beans about what’s happening?!

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It will be interesting to see if these prompts actually lead users to post more or post about different types of things.

With Our Powers Combined We Can Rid Wikipedia of Yellow Pop-up Ads

If you spend any time on Wikipedia, you may have noticed that this year’s fundraising campaign is in full-swing. Potentially taking a cue from the advertising 101, this year’s campaign features a bright yellow banner message that pops up when you are browsing Wikipedia. It is virtually impossible to miss.

The message itself is similar to previous years, describing a very practical way that the fundraising goal can be met immediately if everyone gave the “price of a cup of coffee.” Sometimes that section is switched out to say if everyone gave $5. The only difference in the message I noticed was the end note, “Please help us forget fundraising and get back to Wikipedia.”

In the past, Wikipedia has used banners at the top of each wikipedia page with an image of the founder, Jimmy Wales, and the request to “Please read: A personal appeal. . .” Satirical imitations of the banners have popped up all over the internet poking fun at his personal appeal over the years.

As a part of 2011’s campaign, there was some variety to the banner advertisements and banner ads with multiple personal appeals. Also, there were five different banner ads tested for effectiveness. Want to see a list of test banners used in last year’s campaigns and their click and donation rates? Click the image below.  Also, see the 2011 campaign results here.

I’m still undecided on whether I’ll donate to Wikipedia this year. But, maybe when you see that yellow banner pop up in your way, you’ll consider it.

Update: Wikipedia has made it even easier for you to give.

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JCP: OK. . . Just This Once!

No more sales! Except for when customers complain. No more sales! Except for when we can rename them monthly values. No more sales! Except for when it’s the holiday shopping season. JCP’s new motto could be, no sales, except for when it’s convenient.

This year, JCPenney will continue to honor tradition by giving their customers Black Friday and Cyber Monday  sales opportunities. It’s not surprising, as JCPenney needs to do whatever they can to get shoppers through their doors.

JCPenney has come under scrutiny over the past several months due to their drastic restructuring of their pricing strategy, their cryptic and confusing commercials, and their loss of $123 million in revenue. With a decrease of 26% in store sales and 37% in online sales in the last quarter, many doubt the approach CEO Ron Johnson has taken.

I heard the company is giving out free buttons this season instead of coupons. Let’s just pin a button on and hope it distracts investors and consumers from the drastic decline in revenue that has swiftly followed intense shifts in JCP’s brand, strategy, and store experiences.

Related by me:

JCPenney’s Brings Back Sales

Screaming at the Death of JCP sales


A Dose of Realism for the Chief of J.C. Penney

Which Retailer Will Die First: Sears or J.C.Penney?

Facebook Ad: No Ideas But in Things

Poet William Carlos Williams is famous for his philosophy and mantra, “No ideas but in Things.” It seems Facebook has subscribed to that worldview in their new ad, “Chairs.” The ad has been out since early October and has gained the attention of the youtube audience (over 1,500,000 hits) and the traditional media.

The ad had its first parody three days after it was released followed by a few others. Facebook’s ad has also received criticism from marketing professionals. As Facebook’s first branded video, it may be a pre-mature concept of the company’s projected identity.


I appreciate the message itself “Things that connect us” better than its video portrayal. With the message alone, I’m free to imagine what those things may be (not chairs). Facebook’s ad is classy, artistic, and professional. It’s not likely to engage their current mass user audience, but; it may attract those interested in Facebook’s advertising solutions.

Distracted? Get the Remedy!

Distraction is an unfortunate struggle in life. Sometimes we can be distracted for months and even years from the things we really want to accomplish. A video posted on Wired yesterday has a nifty distraction management protocol. Find out what it is, in the video below!

How Did I Get Here? Targeted Click-throughs (Old Navy)

Email Marketing: Targeted Click-throughs (Old Navy)

How did I get here?

Old Navy is one of the few mass marketing e-mailings I don’t mind getting. But today, there was a little surprise for me. Upon opening, I mindlessly touched the graphic. I was directed to the boys section on the Old Navy site. Staring down at my phone in disbelief, I thought, did Old Navy have me demographically pinned as a boy or as a mother who would buy boy’s clothes? I had no idea why I was directed there. I have no need to purchase boy’s clothing.

Targeted Genius?

Then, I revisited the email and found that each person in the image when clicked directed the user to that section. How fun! When I clicked on the man, it took me to mens’ clothes, when I touched the graphic of the woman, it took me to ladies’ clothes. Now, I know this is pretty easy to do with hotspots, etc. Nevertheless, I thought it was pretty cool. It’s common that ‘buttons’ for different departments would take the user to different places. But, I had never thought to link different ‘people’ to different places. I do wonder how many people would end up in a totally irrelevant section like I did though.

Email Marketing: Targeted Click-throughs [Old Navy]

Quick & Dirty — Endorsements Now

Linkedin skills

If you haven’t already noticed, last week, LinkedIn rolled out a new feature called ‘endorsements.’ Now with a click of a button you can recommend the skills that your connections list on their profile. It seems like a super easy way to validate the skills and talents that people say they have.

LinkedIn seemed to be just waiting for enough people to list skills to add this feature, as the site asked and encouraged users to add their ‘skills’ repetitively in months prior.

Previously on LinkedIn, only recommendations could be requested using a boiler plate request with the headline ‘Endorse me.’ Looks like LinkedIn has taken it one step simpler by adding endorsements. Personally, it’s been fun to ‘give props’ to my colleagues and friends and to receive the love in return (although that wasn’t what I was after).

Try it out today!