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Monthly Archives: July 2011
July 25, 2011Posted by on
Domino’s Pizza has been on a roll recently. After taking a huge hit in April 2009 after a video [it’s since been taken down by Youtube] showed Domino’s employees doing disgusting things to the pizza, the company has taken a very transparent approach to its marketing and advertising efforts. For starters, all advertisements for Domino’s now feature completely untouched imagery of their pizzas; no touch-ups, no Photoshop, nada. The company has gone as far as running a television campaign showing focus groups bashing the the pizza they had been selling for years.
Now fast forward to 2011, where social media has brought about an incredible change in the marketing/advertising and customer service industries. People are able to publicly rant and rave via Facebook and Twitter about miserable experiences (and exceptional ones too!) all they want, and if a company is smart…they won’t try to hide, ignore, or delete those posts. An era of transparency from the company side has emerged, and the lack of trust consumers have in businesses has never been more apparent. Companies have been forced to up the honesty and transparency, and it’s better for everyone.
And here goes Domino’s, upping the ante yet again with their new campaign:
Yeah. That’s right. From now until August 23rd Domino’s will be broadcasting reviews they receive from their Pizza Tracker onto a huge electronic billboard in Times Square. Of course, they will be filtering profanity and other inappropriate content, but in terms of sentiment they will be completely uncensored. That’s one helluva gesture to us consumers.
As a fan of Domino’s I’ve always been fairly faithful in ordering strictly from them when I have a chance, and these types of campaigns are why I am faithful to them. Companies who are willing to put their necks out there and accept praise while also taking the heat for when they make mistakes, and doing what they can to correct those mistakes, is the ultimate show of customer appreciation and trust.
Way to go Domino’s. Keep ’em coming.
July 19, 2011Posted by on
First things first: if you haven’t at least tried out Spotify yet, go here to get it.
So as part of the not-so-exclusive Klout perk, I was given access to Spotify’s free, unlimited service. It’s awesome. The gist of it is this: for FREE (a magical word with super powers; if you disagree please read The Cost of Free chapter of Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational) you get access to over 13 million songs that you can stream on your computer. Also, it accesses your music files and pulls them into the program so you can create playlists containing your own music, and music you don’t currently have. The one capability missing: if you search a song they don’t have…it’s not possible for someone to add it to Spotify and have it be available from then on. Hopefully they make this doable at some point.
Spotify also has one of the most useful, not to mention coolest, features of any music program I’ve seen yet: Collaborative Playlists (scroll down to read about them). The short story is that you can create a playlist that you then open to anyone for editing. You can share the link to the playlist, and then others can add songs. It’s the ultimate party tool, and a great way to get everyone’s input; a type of social jukebox.
So what does the addition of Spotify to the music service competition mean for other companies in the US? It means, watch out. There’s are reasons this service is so widely praised in Europe. But for now all I heard about it Pandora and similar service to that needing to watch out. I say Spotify has enough oomph to compete with the biggest player of them all, iTunes. iTunes is the juggernaut of the music industry, but it doesn’t do streaming. Based on my personal experience since installing Spotify, I haven’t opened iTunes once, except to update my iPod. I can only speak to myself, but I know Apple won’t want to be hearing things like that. While they are wildly successful they also still have to compete with torrenting, and other forms of music pirating. Now there’s a free service that streams any music one would want hanging out in their playground that is an easy, and legal, way to listen to said music, whenever you want.
And for those who wish, you can pay $10/month and you have access to all of those songs on your mobile phone, eliminating the need for an iPod in the first place. The cheapest iPod with full functionality on the market right now is the iPod Nano for $150. That’s one year and three months of streaming music from millions of songs, and that doesn’t include the costs of all the songs you would have (hopefully) purchased to fill the iPod. That’s a sweet deal from Spotify.
Spotify will inevitably take sales away from iTunes. A service as hyped as they are, and one that live up to the hype in my opinion, is bound to succeed here in the US of A. I don’t think iTunes should be reacting just yet (though I can see them developing a competing service, and am pretty sure I’ve read somewhere about them trying to get a good streaming service out there), but they need to be looking over their shoulder. Spotify is here to stay, and I am hopping along for the ride.
What do you think of Spotify? Have you had a chance to use it much yet?
July 4, 2011Posted by on
I love beer. All kinds of it. I recently earned my Bachelor’s in the Tacomac Brewniversity program, which means I’ve tried 125 different beers at least once; I can’t say I hated any of them. But here’s the problem: keeping track of the beers I’ve tried, and remembering how much I liked each of them. Then I found out about Untappd. It’s a website, optimized for mobile, that helps you track all of this. I’ve been using it for a couple months, though most heavily the last couple of weeks.
Then I got a link to Beerby, an app which serves the same purpose as Untappd. So what do I do? I decide to go to the bar to test them both out and find out which, in my opinion, is better. And yes, Beerby is the underdog because I’ve been using Untappd for an extended period of time. So here we go:
Round 1: Mobile Website vs. App
The first difference between the two programs is that one is a mobile website (Untappd) and one is an app (Beerby). This is a big difference, because I can access my account on Untappd from any computer, phone, or other internet access points. With Beerby, I have to have a phone that already has the app installed (or I can install it myself). Having to get onto the internet to access Untappd is more inconvenient than having an app on my phone that I can open up though. However, availability trumps a small inconvenience when it comes to this for me. Untapped: 1 Beerby: 0
Round 2: Interface
- Friends: A live stream of what your friends on Untappd are drinking.
- The Pub: A public stream of what everyone who is logged into Untappd is drinking, from everywhere.
- Your Tab: What you’ve had to drink; your personal homepage of brews. It’s also the place to see your friends, how many brews total you’ve had, had many of them are unique, and what badges you’ve earned. You can also view your wish list of brews you want to try, but haven’t gotten to yet.
- Drink Up: The tab you’ll most want to use. It’s where you check in to the brew you’re currently drinking. You can add your location by integrating Foursquare, and you can post on Twitter and Facebook directly. Rate your brew, write any notes you’d like to say about it, and there you go!
The website is a pleasing Bud Light yellow (on purpose, duh) with easily readable text. Overall, a stellar looking piece of work that makes you forget you aren’t using an app. The only negative I have found is that I frequently hit the ‘back’ button, which takes me to the previous webpage, not the last screen I was on; this wouldn’t happen if it was an app instead of a website.
- Home: This shows you the beers that you’ve consumed. Click on one of the beers to view your comments about it.
- Beer: This loads up the screen where you can search for new beers to check in, and also shows you your most recent beers, along with what appears to be other suggestions. I’m not sure exactly how this list is populated, and wish that would be explained. A cool little thing here is the icon next to the beer, distinguishing it as a lager, ale, porter, etc. It’s not that necessary, but it’s a nice touch.
- Places: This page brings up a Google Map with locations pinned down that you can check in to. Confusing to use, I think you can check in to locations this way but it’s not Foursquare integrated so I’m not sure what the point is…just personal notes I guess.
- Me: Oddly, you would think this page would show the beers you’ve had, but it doesn’t. It has a settings tab and contacts tab within it that you can view. In the settings tab you can see your ‘Badgers’ (their name for Badges) and your stats. The Badgers page and the Stats page are my favorite parts of the app, and are something that Beerby brings to the game that Untappd does not. The Badgers page, instead of keeping badges unknown until you earn them, has meters that fill up as you drink beers that apply to applicable badges. This allows you to see all the badges you’re on your way to earning, and how far you have to go. It’s simply great, and motivating. The Stats page, while very simple, is a nice add on: it examines all of your beers and tells you your preferred beer, style, brewery, and country; nothing special, but still cool.
My overall view of the interface is that it’s not as visually pleasing as Untappd, and the lack of LBS integration is a big miss. It is not as user-friendly as Untappd and takes awhile getting used to it. I’m still confused by some of the pages, and still find myself asking “why does this page not do this?” and feel that the Home and Me pages should be combined.
Untappd wins this one, it’s just easier to use and it looks better too. Untappd: 2; Beerby: 0
Round 3: Social Integration
Untappd: Untappd does a great job at integrating all things social with your account. When you check in to a brew you are able to post on both your Twitter and Facebook accounts automatically, as well as add your location via Foursquare, letting you check in that way as well. As you earn badges this posts on your social networks as well. Adding friends and commenting/toasting their check ins is very easy to do. Being able to view a stream of just your friends’ check ins is a helpful addition.
Beerby: Beerby lacks in social. That’s basically all you need to know. Your checkins, aren’t checkins, you are choosing to “track” a beer. When you choose to track a beer you can post to Twitter but that’s the only social integration there is. You can attach a photo to the tweet which is actually really great. Documenting all the beers you’ve had is a lot more fun when you’ve got pictures to go along with any comments you have about the beers. Other than this…there isn’t much going for Beerby on the social front. Adding in Foursquare or Gowalla integration is necessary for an app like this, and being able to post on Facebook is something that I thought everyone realized is essential.
Untappd wins this in a landslide. In the social media era you need to have at least Twitter, Facebook, and at least one LBS program involved in your app that is all about sharing your activity…Untappd has all three and Beerby only has one. Untapped: 3; Beerby: 0.
Both Untappd and Beerby are great. But I feel that Untappd just has it more together than Beerby on every level. That doesn’t mean Beerby isn’t a great app, it just needs improvement. Add in more social integration, clean up the interface a bit to make it less confusing, and voila! You have an Untappd competitor. Where Beerby succeeds in comparison is its Badgers system and stats page, as well as being able to add photos to each beer you drink. There are some cool looking bottles I’d like to remember, and having photo proof is always a good thing.
Untappd wins this battle, and I’m going to keep using it, but I will also keep using Beerby. Giving in a few more weeks of regular use may change my mind on some things, and I’m always open to learning the intricacies you can only learn with more exposure.
Have you had a chance to use Untappd or Beerby? I’d give both of them a chance. Drinking beer is always a good time, and being able to see your past “performance” just improves the experience.
Beerby has informed me that they do have Foursquare integration within their latest update, as well as Facebook support but only on the iPhone. I have an Android so that is why I missed this. If you have an iPhone, go crazy! Android peeps, we’ve got a bit to wait, but we’ll get there soon enough.
July 3, 2011Posted by on
MoviePass announced their initial plans and their goal of becoming Netflix, but for movie theaters. Here’s a super quick overview of the service: frequent theater attendees can pay a $50 subscription fee for unlimited movies, with a one flick per day caveat. Not too bad considering movies are about $10 a pop in major cities.Recently a new startup called
Well, it might be a great idea, but MoviePass made sure to spoil their own plans before even getting started. How so? They didn’t tell the theaters they would be running the service for that they were apart of the whole thing. That would be like Scoutmob doing a half-off deal for a restaurant, but not telling the restaurant that the deal is in place. Way to go MoviePass.
They have a great thing going for them, and I think the service is a good idea. They also have a really cool website that updates as people sign up, eventually rewarding users with free tickets. But for now the service is on hold because of their little…mistake.
Read the full story, and the press release, here at Engadget.