The Life Unwired with Ben Combee (unwiredben) wrote,
The Life Unwired with Ben Combee

SXSW 2005 Notes: "Open Source Marketing" Panel

Christian Crumlish, Mediajunkie
Rob Davis, Haerman & Associates
Jason Calacanis, Weblogs, Inc.

CC: "The Power of Many" book on online communities becoming part of ordinary life. Falls into background and directly affects actions in the real world.

JC: Weblogs Inc. does over 75 weblogs. They handle hosting and ad sales. Revenue sharing model changed to pay-per-post model. Over 1 million pages per day. Have their own Blogsmith software that they will release. Working on podcasting with Eric Rice. Concerned about honest marketing.

RD: coordinated campaign to to purchase Firefox ad in NYT.

Topic is active this year because of Howard Dean campaign. Bottom-up, web based collaboration, endorsed by top-level.

Firefox ad was done by volunteers with Mozilla Org endorsement. Public fund raiser. More pledges in a single day than originally planned for the whole week. 40% of participants were outside of the US.

iPod Mini Movie - not endorsed by Apple but spread virally, made by George Masters

Adverse to "Open Source" name, more like viral, vigilante, community, word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer

Open Source Attributes
Community meeting point
Implicit Endorsement
Source Materials Available

CC: open source software has attributes that apply to other activities.

There is a way to approach marketing that is transparent, that avoids tricking people. It's not just a metaphor, there's a way to use the techniques of open source development for marketing.

RD: Is open source marketing a product or process?

JC: I don't know what it is. Basic premise is that great products don't need marketing, but shitty products have to have it to get noticed. Need patience to get notices, however. Hate to go Cluetrain, but have conversations with your users and make your product better. If you have good product, people talk about it. Marketing campaigns can make things grow faster?

RD: Is open source marketing overhyped?

CC: Seth Grodin says that all marketers are liars.

JC: BzzzAgents are liars... They give incentives to get people to push products on other people. They gave out free sausage for people to host parties. Like an Amway phase where you lose all your friends. Seth choose not to be involved in the discussion.

RD: BzzzAgent calls their process open source marketing...

CC: but it's not open. Get back to ethics -- primary benchmark is openness. Tell me if you're being paid or compensated.

JC: Does JetBlue have parties for shillers? No, they just have a good product.

CC: Voluntary marketing. People will tell others about good products. Inherently great products will inspire their users.

RD: Is there a way to open-source BzzzAgents?

JC: People want to make money on giving people device. Technologists thing technology drives things, business people like business plans, but some things don't need to be done or need to be sponsored. They aren't doing this to bring people new products.

Scoble: I go around Microsoft, get geek video, and people can comment on that.

JC: You're not doing marketing, you're just doing introductions.

CC: Don't filter out the negative things, hard to do inside a business because it violates rules of command & control. But allowing criticism shows openness and builds credibility.

RD: Channel 9 isn't OSM, it's grass-roots testimonials.

Scoble: People add information beyond what I put up.

JC: It's good public relations and good for Microsoft. If your company is loved, you can talk to people; if you're hated, blogs aren't the best idea.

CC: If you isolate yourself from negative feedback, you don't learn.

JC: Apple is a Kim-Jong Ill company. Does anyone agree with Apple suing bloggers? If you're an Apple fan, you should be questioning the company.

Microsoft allows thousands of people to blog on company time, but Apple does not.

Audience: there's very little incentive to be a BzzzAgent. Challenge is to create an incentive.

JC: Netflix does it well, has marketing material in packaging to give to friends.

RD: There need to be drivers for the campaign. With Firefox, it's coolness in getting in th NYT.

CC: Pointing people to things gives you social currency.

Audience: Incentive is ego, just like blogging. Be aware of people's motives.

JC: We get to choose our society, do we promote companies that push things through deception. A company that encourages deceit should be told to go away by people like us.

RD: More campaigns--wazzup commercial, remixed by lots of users. Is it open source?

CC: Did it promote the product? It can be a cultural meme but not actually push the product.

JC: Lucas decided to allow fan films that were non-commercial and gave tools to make films, rather than suing all the enthusiastic fans.

CC: Can a business be nimble and embrace things, or are they dinosaurs? Jay-Z put out a version of Black Album for remixing, then got used for the Dangermouse "Grey Album". Puts audiences in contact, but EMI didn't see that and shut it down. Grateful Dead mixed with Jay-Z to make "Jay-Z's Dead" remix.

RD: core litmus test is can you get the source. Bud could have put the commercial online to make it easier for fans to remix and got more leverage.

CC: MoveOn did Bush in 30 seconds, but got in trouble due to Hitler ad.

JC: We did something similar for Mac Mini review. Put out a review format and got 47 reviews, paid $500 for best one.

CC: no way for Jason's team to do that themselves. People can criticize that it's exploitation. Did Pyro exploit community when asking for community-based designs? Writers say that people have dies of exposure.

Audience: what's difference between Marquis and Mac Mini review?

JC: Apple isn't paying directly, it's an indie site doing it.

RD: Subservient Chicken. Get chicken your own way. Put out by a Miami firm, was very witty. Not open source, but viral campaign. If they'd released their materials, it would be open source.

Audience: how is this different from tupperware parties?

JC: It's cool when people are talking about a product from a place where they weren't paid?

Audience: does advertising invalidate that?

RD: open source term may fit

JC: how to bloggers make money without being on the take? Other media have long established ethics standards to deal with this. You don't want to create appearance of impropriety, we don't let our bloggers talk to advertisers. Writers find out advertisers when readers do. Jason is fine with losing advertising because it means we've got integrity.

RD: NYT doubted the Firefox campaign when it was originally proposed.

CC: Bloggers get credibility by being open and honest.

Audience: if you're paid, then you're not honest is a bad premise. People hire me because I'm genuine.

JC: People will always give more respect to independent people.

Marc Canter: Jason doesn't consider small bloggers to be money makers. Sponsors provide seed for smaller bloggers.

Audience: what about Consumer Reports?

CC: Jason, are you being paid to promote Weblogs Inc?

JC: Of course! Bloggers need to present a unified front that we're not for sale.

Audience: how do you measure effect of open source marketing?

RD: Firefox campaign got a million extra downloads

CC: metrics were used in Dean campaign, used ability for campaign to raise money, but weren't able to measure votes. Lots of people gave money multiple times.

RD: marketing surveys check perceptions and look for sales

Aud: Product sells SMS messages, use online tracking cookies to see how viral marketing is working.

JC: retention studies and cookies

CC: Don't put my phone number into those ads.

Aud: what about marketing of open source tools?

RD: people have expectations, and will be disappointed

JC: can't send people to Sourceforge, Firefox worked because it was so easy and ready to go.

CC: CivicSpace went from confusing to one-button installation.

JC: OpenOffice needs that

Aud: Transparency is good, OSM is good, but what were the drawback? Can you run it safely?

CC: If you talk to closely involved people, they will say that they adopted techniques because they were cheap, then discovered that in inspired volunteers to make their own products around the idea.

Trippi had the idea that you need to release control, there's a reason that campaigns want control -- Kerry beat Dean, Bush beat Kerry. Is this a disruptive change? People who adopt this are insurgents and have fewest resources.

RD: tools that are available?

CC: in Dean campaign, some indie project became official part, others just were floating around. Tech people were searching for customers. People complained about ease-of-use, things weren't directed, and no Linus that acted as coordinator.

CivicSpace is great tool. Advocate became open source due to community pressure.

RD: Firefox community is based on DeanSpace tech.

JC: Amplifying your critics is good, got critics to work for Weblogs to do alternate views.

Aud: Microsoft's blogs are damage control and needs developer outreach.

Aud: entities who originally put creative commons license goods now want to pull it back.

CC: Can you change the rules? Is it ethical? Like the organic nature of taking environment and reworking it.

JC: we can market by letting people take out watermarked photos.

Aud: How can underdog movies be marketed in this way?

RD: Big opportunity. Take advantage of remix culture. Get a narrow group to spread the word.

CC: Was Blair Witch or Napoleon examples?

JC: Korean film marketed to Korean community hard through email.

CC: Question that this is a technique that will enable underdogs to defeat the powerful. It might work for breakouts, but people have limited attention.
Tags: sxsw 2005, technology
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