It’s Not Easy Being Green

Everyone knows green is good and I’m not just talking about the kind you stuff in your wallet. Green is a marketing buzzword that tells your customers that you’re hip, you’re concerned and you’re doing something about it.

Now before you start typing “eco-friendly” on your weekly newsletter, you better take a look at the new guidelines proposed by the FTC.

The Federal Trade Commission is concerned that agencies aren’t taking this environmental stuff seriously so they’re cracking the whip.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz had this to say:

“In recent years, businesses have increasingly used ‘green’ marketing to capture consumers’ attention. But what companies think green claims mean and what consumers really understand are sometimes two different things.”

Forrester Reports on Cutting Through the Social Media Clutter

Imagine you’re at party with 800 people and you need to tell one specific person that you found her cell phone on the bar. Everyone is talking, music is playing, people keep moving around and so even if you spot the girl you’re looking for, by the time you make your way through the crowd, she’s already moved on. You could try shouting at her from across the room, but you’re not likely to get through. Maybe pass her a note by handing it off to someone six degrees style and hoping it will get to her eventually? Or you could just stand there and maybe she’ll come looking for you.

Facebook Announces New Groups Feature

I talked and Facebook listened. How amazing is that? Just the other day I was saying that I had a link I wanted to share but I didn’t want to spam my whole list of Facebook friends when only a few of them would be interested.

Today, I wake up and find that Facebook has solved this problem for me. They have a new version of Groups that allows me (and you and anyone else who wants to) to create a group, invite friends and only post messages to the people in that group.

I know what you’re saying, hey, Cynthia, couldn’t I do that before with the friend labeling system? Well, yes, you could but it was a pain in the neck, wasn’t it? Not at all user friendly but this system is easy-peasy. It’s so easy that it’s already causing a problem.

Twitter Launches Promoted Accounts

“Promoted” seems to be Twitters favorite word as they graduate from Promoted Tweets to Promoted Trends to the newest item, Promoted Accounts.

Promoted Accounts will appear in the Suggested For You space in your Twitter sidebar.  The algorithm is set to compare your followers with the followers of people you follow, then suggest an applicable Promoted Account that you aren’t already following.

Who’s on first, What’s on second and I Don’t Know is definitely on third. Twitter simplifies it with this example:

“A lot of people who follow several gaming-related accounts also follow @xbox. If someone follows gaming-related accounts, but not @xbox, Twitter may recommend @xbox to that person.”

Want a Vegas Upgrade? Get Klout

The world is full of leader and followers and no where is this more evident than in social media. For marketers, connecting with one leader, that one influential voice in a given niche, is worth a 1,000 followers. That’s where Klout comes in. Kout was originally imagined as another internet badge of honor that you could wave in the faces of your friends. Founders Joe Fernandez and Binh Tran soon found that the system was a gold mine for marketers looking to locate the whales in a sea of little fish.

Klout uses a complex ranking system that rates a person’s worth in the social media world. It looks at not only how many followers you have, but who they are and what content you and they post, click on, retweet, etc. Originally the system was devoted mostly to Twitter use, but they’ve now added Facebook data and according to an article in AdAge, YouTube, Linkedin, MySpace and Digg aren’t far behind. The more data, the merrier, right?

Behavioral Advertising Gets an Opt-Out icon

Some of the internet’s biggest players have agreed to take part in a new self-regulatory program that provides transparency for behavioral advertising. The program was put together with the aid of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in conjunction with the July 2009 paper Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising.

The program revolves around the “Advertising Option Icon,” which will be displayed on or near any online ad that is the result of behavioral targeting. When clicking, the icon will link out to a disclosure statement that outlines the data collection and advertising practices used to produce the ad and it will give the consumer an “easy-to-use opt-out option.”

Forty Percent of Groupon Merchants Say Never Again

Last month, we reported on a story of a Portland Cafe owner who claims she lost thousands of dollars doing business with popular deal site Groupon. Some people sided with her, others said she mishandled the situation and Groupon said her story wasn’t typical. But is it?

The folks at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University wanted to find out, so they did a small study to see if merchants were generally happy with their Groupon experience. The study, which was reported on by The Wall Street Journal and other sources polled 150 merchants who had placed deals with Groupon.