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Posts Tagged ‘SPAM’

HD-Ad-ChristmasYou might be a spammer if you send a holiday e-card.

And I’ve received several from Harley-Davidson and the dealer network disguised as ads.  Nothing says your cheap and out of date more than sending a holiday e-card, especially if there is no personalization involved and it’s really evangelizing discount specials.  You look like some tech retard who doesn’t realize fads come and go and you’ve just dated yourself to 1999.

And don’t e-mail me every day unless you have something to say.  Don’t Facebook me either saying you’ve got something “FASCINATING”…  yet, there it is, another photo advert on “The Wall” or dealer email message or tweet.  I mean if I don’t know you, should I really be on your Christmas list?

Tigard-adSome of us are old enough to remember that once upon a time there was a company called CDNow. It sold CDs over the Internet. You remember CDs, right?  Those shiny discs that were supposed to have the ultimate sound and last forever.

Anyway, CDNow put out a newsletter every 3-months which generated a lot of money.  Then the company went public and in an effort to boost financial numbers sent two newsletters a quarter. They continued to do very well.  To make the story shorter, by the time they were done, CDNow was sending a newsletter every week. And then they were done, the company went into decline and was sold to Bertelsmann.

The audience tuned out.

salem-adIf you’ve got something interesting to say and an audience that wants to hear it, by all means reach out. But if you’re just trying to generate sales, trying to monopolize your audience’s mind, be careful about how often you intrude on them. It’s the best way to turn people off. Banging at their digital door again and again and again.

We pull in today’s world and we hate push.  Yet, there’s an incredible amount of PUSH going on at Harley-Davidson.  It’s especially challenging this year since more of it is combined with their collective dealer network and HOG activities.  It’s an endless stream of “look-at-me” attempts.  Show me someone who love’s commercials and I’ll show you someone who works at a TV network.

Listen up Harley-Davidson marketing… If you’re selling first, most people are ignoring you.  Build the relationship.  Nurture the relationship.  And know that everybody on the other end is an individual, with feelings and desires.

There is a flip side of Internet access. The ability to tune out unreasonable spam.  If you continue to be a culprit then you might be sending it, but no one is listening or checking it out.

Photo’s courtesy of H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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As an “oldster” I remember a time when automobiles (or motorcycles for that matter) didn’t come standard with FM radios.

Back in 1978, KINK FM ran entire vinyl album sides without a break.  The year prior they added Les Sarnoff as Music Director.  And I remember waiting in the car to hear songs end so that I could learn who the artist was or determine if it was a new release. I haven’t done that in 20 years with any commercial station.    Why?

Advertising.

The ad machine ensures there are 26 minutes of ads every hour and in this diminishing musical content/increased ad model every radio station has made changes – for the worst in my view – with huckster ads interrupting the music and snake-oil voices peddling foreclosed houses or bankruptcy evasion schemes leaving listeners with airwave SPAM just like late night TV.  Thank the FCC, which allowed Clear Channel and Entercom to acquire anyone, in turn they fired the music programmers and dialed up the wattage on the commercial noise in cookie-cutter repetition for every market – and play the same crappy 25 song sets 24×7.

As for AM radio, I suspect that most people under 40 never press the “band” button unless they want to hear “talk” stations degrade us with their vulgarity.  So, it would seem there is a market for satellite programming, but of course the niche listener/technology shifts are affecting all media outlets ad revenue and some are struggling more than others.  Services such as XM/Sirius are essentially replacing what used to be the independent small market radio.  Satellite radio is a lot like FM in the ’70s where stations varied considerably and few advertisements crept in.  But that’s a changing as many of us have witnessed and complained about on our so-called $15 monthly “commercial-free” service.

Satellite radio for motorcycles up until recently was only available by third-party suppliers as radio add-on kits.  Back in 2005 Harley-Davidson announced a partnership with XM and a year later offered an aftermarket solution based on the Road Tech AL20.  Then all the major motorcycle manufactures started to offer up satellite radio as part of the standard audio systems.  H-D made it standard on many touring motorcycles as part of the Advanced Harmon/Kardon Audio System or as kit upgrade.  In the fall of 2007, Kawasaki partnered with XM and made satellite radio standard on the Vulcan 1600 Nomad touring models.  Honda was also quick to jump on the trend.

XM/Sirius provides little detail on their listener stats.  They provide stats on the number of overall subscribers, but they don’t release demographics or detail subscription numbers by vehicle type or channel.  That makes it impossible to get public information on the number of motorcycle subscribers.  In fact, many of the GPS (Garmin, RadioTech, Zumo etc.) have satellite radios built in, but again there is no subscriber info.  I’d like to analyze a consumer breakdown because I suspect that less than 5% of the satellite enable radios on motorcycles have an active subscription.

So how do you roll?  Whenever, wherever 150 channels of information and entertainment have to be at your side?  Or are you there to experience the ride with all your senses intact?  Do you want the freedom to listen to commercial-free music while crisscrossing the country or are you out there to enjoy a quiet ride?

Don’t know what a satellite radio is?  Then more info on a XM Satellite Motorcycle Antenna HERE and nothing like an endorsement from OCC’s Paul Jr. who states satellite radio is “cushy” HERE.

Photo courtesy of H-D

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timeoutAccording to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95% of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to WOW (wallow on the web), where they become public remnants of a dream — or an ambition — unfulfilled.

I started blogging in 2006 which seems like a long time ago… then in 2007, prior to taking off on an extended motorcycle trip I started the Northwest Harley Blog.  The thinking at the time was that a mix of hobbies (motorcycle and photography) would be a natural fit and thus was born — rantings of a motorcycle enthusiast.

Many people start blogs with lofty aspirations — try to build an audience and leave their day job, land a book deal, get attention from traditional media or simply to share their so-called genius with the world. I did not! Some even assumed that once they started blogging, the world would beat a path to their digital door.  Getting started is easy, since all it takes to maintain a blog is a time commitment and inspiration. Some actually believe those TV advertisements about some mommy blogger making $4,000 a month?

As a “closet journalist” I like to provide a unique voice and work to accurately report and find unusual angles on stories related to motorcycle causes and the industry.  I also like to provide chronologies of my various ride and rally wanderings. After two+ years, or put another way — after 500 posts, 873 photo’s edited/uploaded, and several thousand moderated comments later I feel the blog is a successful hobby after obtaining on average 24,000 unique monthly views, but it’s also at a cross-roads.

trollThe internet is different now.  It used to be about research, accuracy and quality entries.  The good bloggers had something to say about the big motorcycle issues of the day.  Now it’s about snippets from people who pump out dreck or large excerpts of other articles.  Original and high-quality content has become dumbed down.  Bloggers are required to spend more time ‘digg-n’, ‘tweeting’, ‘facebooking‘, ‘youtubing‘ and SEOing their posts than they do on the actual posts themselves. Even H-D is pushing their social media outreach staff to pump up the noise level on marketing messages in non-traditional channels — i.e. bloggers.

Sure it’s cool to have all this media presence, you can tweet ad infinitum and make videos clips if you’ve got a burning desire to do so… especially if you love new media and are thrilled to be in constant contact with your fan base or “tribe.”  In other words, if its an end unto itself.

But, that’s what bothers me.  There is a point of diminishing returns and a mental cost to all the work.  In the early days all that was required to “win” at blogging was to show up early each day.  Today?  You need a team of social marketers to get your message out, a second team to manage any fall-out from whatever you’ve said and a third to manage all the SPAMers and deletion of bad behavior rolled up by the Google machine in the form of drive-by trolls and haters who try and take up residence.  As a result blogs have a higher failure rate than restaurants!

Not all blogs fade from lack of reader interest. Some bloggers find themselves too busy — what with, say, band-camp, and swim practice, or perhaps even housework. Others graduate to more immediate formats, like Twitter or Facebook and drop evangelizing via the blog platform. And a few — gasp — actually decide to reclaim some small slice of their personal time.  This brings me full-circle about a decision.

I’m going to take a blogging timeout. Little if any new material will appear during the month of October.  I plan to resume in November.  Why?  Having blogged consistently for over three years now, I think it would be wise to take a step back and evaluate the effects (both good and bad) and determine what if any new direction should be taken.  If you have an opinion or viewpoint I’m sure you’ll let me know.

I appreciate the allegiance of the blog reader base who subscribe and those who visit the site regularly.  If you happen on to this site during the month of October I hope you’ll enjoy looking through the archives.

Enjoy fall and ride safe out there…

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Twitter Follower - a.k.a. "Jasmine"

Twitter Follower - a.k.a. "Jasmine"

There needs to be a neon sign on Twitter pronouncing the online equivalent of “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.”

And speaking of neon maybe we should blame it on John Mayer (@johncmayer)?   He was one of the early celeb adopters of Twitter to lure fans.  And as we all know in social media, where celebs go, D-listers, sex peddlers and the rash of come-ons follow.

What am I ranting about? In a word, is hookers!  Twitter over the last month has ramped up and displayed similarities to the old porn days of MySpace—and that should be a red flag for Biz Stone, founder of the company.  Over a ten-day span in August I received 33 new “followers” whose profile pages depicted naked or scantily clad women.   In fact, my recent tweet telling blog followers about how to stay cool in the Wenatchee heat during a Canada trip instantly got me an “@-message” saying: “Here’s how I cool down in my Kelowna home.” When I clicked on the link, let’s just say I nearly missed the glass of ice tea!

Okay some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking…  “Hey @macrant, I’m bored at work and so what if the profile is littered with pictures of semi-clothed bodies?”

Here’s what’s objectionable.  They waste my time processing “Twitter Trash” (a.k.a. SPAM) vs. researching and writing blog posts.  Twitter has no Askimet filter like WordPress and it is so time consuming and clunky to eliminate SPAM that it’s as if they want to encourage porn?!   Reporting spam on Twitter is like calling the DMV… 2 languages, 7 level deep phone menu for just the hours of operation… waaaaay too cumbersome a process.  There’s no reason why Twitter can’t catch most spam, or at least make it super simple to report.  Hell, most all “new followers” don’t even have a real name. We’re not at the mercy of viral-marketing geniuses here…. are you hearing any of this Mr. Stone?

Sure Twitter features a “block” or “message” on a person’s profile, but it doesn’t offer a “report spam” button. You have to follow an account called “SPAM,” and then copy the URL and send a direct message to that account with the complaint.  I did this for “Holly” and “Jasmine” and a couple others who I think got suspended. Fine. But I don’t take the time anymore and I suspect MANY users don’t either or won’t figure out how to report the names—or go to the trouble. I think it takes double the number of steps to flag a spamming account than it takes to create a new one… there’s a no-win to the battle.

It seems Twitter management has taken a hands-off “live and let live” approach.  I have one word.  Craigslist!  They had similar ethos about content traded over its platform, but after a lot of staff expenses tied up in legal/law enforcement activity, even they now crack down on spam and solicitation.

Hey, I’m all for tolerance, but Twitter should stop wasting our time or they will suffer the consequences of declining use by real people.

Photo courtesy of Japan Dolls Convention.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Carmen

Carmen

At work early.  Coffee, check.  Raisin bran muffin, check.  Opening Outlook email…waiting…, check.  Whoa, what’s this?  A half-dozen “business proposals” from London and several people in South Africa who I don’t know are waiting for my “urgent reply” with a bank account number…  Important, I am.

According to a recent survey about one in six consumers have at some time acted on a SPAM message.  Huh?   Don’t they realize this only reaffirms the economic incentive for spammers to keep churning out millions of obnoxious pitches per day.  And now comes Twitter SPAM… designed for all us motorcycle enthusiasts who click the “follow” button to stay in touch.  There are many Twitter pages which are simply redirect links for suspicious activity and/or violate usage rules with ad’s about personal body part enhancements.  You know the ones… “I’m now following you”… then you click the link to validate the person and find 3 updates in as many months, but wait… they are following 2,714 people… if you dare click on the web link up comes a clear ruse with no social redeeming value!

Rather agitated on the last “following you” notice, I was going to report the violation – but, then I thought I’d SPAM the SPAMMERS!  I know… I’ll pose as a 35 year-old single mom (Carmen – likes Cars/Motorcycles and Men – get it?).  I have this wounded bird theory and selected a profile with 4 kids. My oldest son, Ricky, is 16 so he’s taking care of Tabitha, 6, and Billy, 4. My youngest, Jeremy, 3 months, is somewhere around here. He’ll turn up. He usually does.  Since I’m still evolving my faux on-line landscape I’ll evangelize my Fav’s as: “Likes to go on long motorcycle rides in the moonlight…” You see, I’ve got this hot body with money to burn and looking for a guy who doesn’t believe everything he reads!

Twitter Suspension Notice

Twitter Suspension Notice

I’m hip and learned from a piercing article in Tattoo that unemployed spammers spend half their time trolling Twitter and other social networks to try and help or pick up 30-something’s.  So, as Carmen I took joy in making my profile very public. It’s good knowing that a lot of spammers scour these sites looking for hot single moms. I posted my pics from before I had my 4 kids and before the crank took my teeth so, I look pretty good in my profile. Just got an email from an unemployed car salesman in Miami, Florida. He could be the one! But, the businessman from South Africa made a lasting impression with that Queen offer in Benadir.  I had no idea it was so easy to travel to Mogadishu!  Wait, as long as they’re still collecting unemployment benefits in the U.S. bring them on! After I finish this post I’ll head over to CafeMom and surf the boards to see how many people responded to my moonlight ride post. Still looking for a real man to take care of my kids. My welfare check arrives on Friday’s and I can’t wait to buy a new iPhone 3Gs.

honestyWhat’s my point?  Clearly people on-line are not always honest.  More important though is being careful out there with your information.   In my previous post about how to leverage Twitter I did not reinforce the need to block people who randomly want to follow you… especially if they have suspicious motives.  And finally, in surfing the information on the web its disturbing to say the least. The type of information being shared is pretty scary and I often see detailed information about the person and their family.  Or you’ll see links to Facebook proudly displaying H.O.G holiday photos of the kids including geo-tags of their house location along with other content that could be used to identify them. Some of the things people post makes them look completely clueless or like they are sitting at the computer “tweeting” while their kid festers in a dirty diaper. Are single parents really this dumb? As far as I’m concerned, parents posting too much information aren’t really fit to be parents because they put their families at risk or at the very best look like they are wasting time on the computer when they could be doing something productive…. with their kids!

Have to go now. Billy can’t find Jeremy. He’s probably stuck behind the furnace again. *Sigh* Do I have to do everything around here?

Photo taken at CES.  Full Disclosure: Carmen is a fictional character.  Email or comments about a “ride in the moonlight” is barking up the wrong tree.

All Rights Reserved (c) Northwest Harley Blog

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1965 Corvette

1965 Corvette

The most recent example of Corporate America “desperation marketing” is below.  Emailed from GM’s Troy A. Clarke, Group Vice President and President GM North America.   Customers are getting these because they own a GM car, but it’s really in poor taste for GM to try and use customer personal information for the purposes of political lobbying.  Sure the “loan” is a complicated situation and whether or not GM ends up in Chapter 11, I don’t think they should be SPAM’ing their customers with email.  What do you think?  Would you respond differently if it was a letter from Harley-Davidson?

Dear [Customer Name],

You made the right choice when you put your confidence in General Motors, and we appreciate your past support. I want to assure you that we are making our best vehicles ever, and we have exciting plans for the future. But we need your help now. Simply put, we need you to join us to let Congress know that a bridge loan to help U.S. automakers also helps strengthen the U.S. economy and preserve millions of American jobs.

Despite what you may be hearing, we are not asking Congress for a bailout but rather a loan that will be repaid.

The U.S. economy is at a crossroads due to the worldwide credit crisis, and all Americans are feeling the effects of the worst economic downturn in 75 years. Despite our successful efforts to restructure, reduce costs and enhance liquidity, U.S. auto sales rely on access to credit, which is all but frozen through traditional channels.

The consequences of the domestic auto industry collapsing would far exceed the $25 billion loan needed to bridge the current crisis. According to a recent study by the Center for Automotive Research:

  • One in 10 American jobs depends on U.S. automakers
  • Nearly 3 million jobs are at immediate risk
  • U.S. personal income could be reduced by $150 billion
  • The tax revenue lost over 3 years would be more than $156 billion

Discussions are now underway in Washington, D.C., concerning loans to support U.S. carmakers. I am asking for your support in this vital effort by contacting your state representatives.

Please take a few minutes to go to www.gmfactsandfiction.com, where we have made it easy for you to contact your U.S. senators and representatives. Just click on the “I’m a Concerned American” link under the “Mobilize Now” section, and enter your name and ZIP code to send a personalized e-mail stating your support for the U.S. automotive industry.

Let me assure you that General Motors has made dramatic improvements over the last 10 years. In fact, we are leading the industry with award-winning vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac CTS, Buick Enclave, Pontiac G8, GMC Acadia, Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, Saturn AURA and more. We offer 18 models with an EPA estimated 30 MPG highway or better – more than Toyota or Honda. GM has 6 hybrids in market and 3 more by mid-2009. GM has closed the quality gap with the imports, and today we are putting our best quality vehicles on the road.

Please share this information with friends and family using the link on the site.

Thank you for helping keep our economy viable.

Sincerely,

Troy Clarke

Shame on GM!

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Good morning.  It appears that I’m not the only one up early this morning surfing the web.  Wow, I hit the sleep number mattress for a few hours and the site is ambushed by “FU” or “Anonymous.”  He’s one busy guy!

A few comments about blog trolls and SPAM.  First of all I’d like to express my sincere appreciation to those posting who have kept things respectful and provided level headed, well thought out responses (while disagreeing) which added to the collective intelligence and discussion on this blog.  Thank you!

However, I must confess that my herculean due diligence efforts to moderate all the comments each day and then make a determination after reading the author’s mind as to their real motive means — I may have made a couple errors and ‘inadvertently’ deleted some posts.  I hate when that happens!  Below are some examples, the full contents of which are not available for posting, but represents their sentiments:

  1. To the dude out of Las Vegas…give it up…please cease and desist your dullard (look it up) posts. They are not going up.  Oh, so sorry about that IP address getting published above…
  2. To the financial institution who needs my bank account information for a lung transplant – Not gonna happen.
  3. To the high school kid in Quebec that rallied all her “friends” to email me – I’m not as dumb as your parents so get over it.
  4. To the woman who faked cancer (three times) – I’m not cruel, but just between us, are those tears real?  See #2 above.
  5. To number “23” – how many souls are truly looking to be adopted into the “brotherhood?”
  6. To “big 1” and the x-rated site redirects – Thx for the URL’s! A person can never have enough animal romance DVD’s – NOT.
  7. To the Italian site who copies all my posts/content including photo’s.  I must admit you’ve become my technology challenge of the month, but know that I’m working it!

The point being?  I’m down on you blog Trolls, but let’s be clear — I’m not a free speech squishier.  It’s a fine line I walk and lately its one that has become increasingly difficult.  I’ve seen comments posted under the guise of “concern” for others or be incendiary and deliberately flame the author to disrupt dialogue or undermine the thread.  They generally start out as condescending and quickly resort to name calling.   The intent is to derail, stifle or control the dialogue.  In some cases these posts are there for the sole purpose of agitating people, sparking arguments, inflaming without substance and in general lack the ‘class’ to address the essence of the topic.  Please know that your comments will not be approved or deleted if you elect to try and “fake” the moderator.

I’m sure some do not share in my sentiments.  That is fine.  It’s one of your freedoms and a choice to disagree.  For those of you who feel trolls are quite intelligent and fully aware of their excessive self-importance as forum “enthusiasts” I say — there are many, many other blogs and forums to post your mindless dribble — your “noble” efforts are not welcome here.  See ya.

Full disclosure – I lack the ability to read minds.

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