The Five Key Missteps Microsoft Made with the Vista Blogger Fiasco

I’ve been giving some thought to why Microsoft’s attempt to reach out to bloggers, by sending them free Vista-loaded laptops, went horribly wrong.

I know that hindsight is 20/20, but as a business blogging consultant, here’s the five mistakes that I believe led to such a negative response from the blogosphere.

  1. Microsoft (and Edelman) was not clear in its message to bloggers. They sent out these fully-loaded, top of the line laptops to bloggers without being clear what exactly they expected from them. Did they want bloggers to review Vista? Were they expecting bloggers to disclose the gift? Would there be a follow-up from MSFT to learn flaws about Vista on laptops? The message was clearly too ambiguous as some bloggers shared news of the ”gift” with their readers, while others didn’t.

Google Faces Catch-22 With Deleted Gmails

TechCrunch has details of a developing story involving the Gmail accounts of 60 users who found all emails deleted due to a suspected breach in FireFox.

Now here’s the catch-22 for Google. Supposedly, once an email is deleted in Gmail, it is gone forever. That keeps the privacy conspiracy theorists happy.

If you’re not able to locate a message in your Inbox, Sent Mail, All Mail, or Trash, it’s been permanently removed from your Gmail account. Unfortunately, we’re unable to recover messages or Contact entries that have been deleted from your account.

Now, what if Google is able to restore the deleted emails of the Gmail accounts effected? Wouldn’t that prove that Google keeps a secret backup of all deleted data?

The Ultimate Secret to Getting Your Website to Dominate Its Industry

Want to know the best way to push any website to the #1 popularity spot for its industry? It’s quite simple, you leverage the traffic from one of Google’s existing properties.

Need proof?

Google’s Blog Search has taken over the #1 spot from Technorati, thanks to a link placed on the homepage of Google News. Hitwise explains how that helped the Google service leapfrog Technorati in just a few weeks.

Google Blog Search began catching up to Technorati in October, when Google placed a link to Blog Search on the Google News home page, causing a 168% surge in market share for Google Blog Search over a two week period (week ending 10/14/06 vs. week ending 10/28/06). Since then, approximately 60% of Google Blog Search’s traffic has been coming directly from Google News, compared to less than 1% before the change.

Google Expands Print Ads (again)

The Washington Post says that Google is set to further expand its print ad program soon, after a rocky start in March and one expansion in November. Google’s director of print ads, Tom Phillips, is naturally quite optimistic about the future of the program. Newspaper execs are less enthused, as the Post says it remains unclear how much the program will truly benefit newspapers.

The Post states:

Todd Haskell, vice president of business development at the New York Times Co., which is participating, said that the product has the potential to drum up new business from small advertisers but that the Times does not foresee letting go of its direct relationships with its largest advertisers.

(Did anyone think that they would? Was it unclear that Google was selling off excess ad inventory?)

Outlook for Mobile Marketing: Billions or bupkis?

Today eMarketer Daily compiled conflicting reports on the future of mobile marketing. According to “Mobile Entertainment’s Potential Sharply Debated” by John du Pre Gauntt (free & live on a limited basis), the predictions for mobile revenues vary wildly:

In November 2006, Juniper Research forecast that total revenues for wireless providers from mobile entertainment in the mobile music, video, TV, gambling, gaming and adult categories would exceed $77 billion by 2011.

One month later, Informa Telecoms & Media followed with a mobile entertainment forecast that stated the total market in 2011 would be $38.1 billion.

eMarketer attributes the $40 billion difference to “wildcards” such as WiFi in the US and international wireless markets, especially China and India which are set to grow exponentially in the immediate future.

Microsoft & Edelman Make Two Mistakes with Free Laptop Fiasco

I wasn’t going to share my thoughts on Microsoft sending out free laptops to some A-list bloggers. I figured it was a dumb move by Microsoft, without first seeking the permission of the blogger. But now Microsoft has made a bad situation worse by asking the bloggers to return the laptops after they “review” them. Here’s part of the new request…

You may have seen that other bloggers got review machines as well…As you write your review I just wanted to emphasize that this is a review pc…I hope you give your honest opinions. Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding of our intentions I’m going to ask that you either give the pc away or send it back when you no longer need it for product reviews.

PayPerPost Acquiring Performancing

According to TechCrunch, we can expect PayPerPost to announce tomorrow they have acquired blog services company Performancing. Their motivation?

The main purpose of the acquisition appears to be for PayPerPost to get access to the 28,000 Performancing users, most of whom are bloggers and potential customers of PayPerPost.

Nick Wilson and the Performancing team will keep the FireFox blog editor plugin and spin off a new company. No financial details have been released.