“More Fees Mean Less Revenue”

Here is something interesting in a somewhat obvious way: Airlines that charge bag fees lost more money than airlines that didn’t. When you read an article like this, the word “duh” comes to mind, doesn’t it?

My question, then becomes: if this is so obvious to see, why did the brilliant business men and women at United, Continental, and Delta still decided to do it? Furthermore, here we are, a year later, with data to prove that the decision was in fact wrong, will any of them make any changes anytime soon?

As a business, at what point do you admit that you are wrong?


History is…

The truth rarely matters; what matters is what the people (you) choose to believe.

Make Mistakes and Fail

Remember when you were in school? The worst thing you could possibly make was a mistake — make enough of those, it leads to failure. The best students were the ones who followed instructions perfectly. Listen, no questions, and do whatever you are told.

All of that changed the minute you walk out of the camps’ doors. Business or personal, now is the time for you to take risks, make mistakes and fail. Fail often, fail early, and fail as much as you can withstand.

Embracing failures gives you two advantages: 1) you learn to deal with it and 2) your success will taste that much better.

Customer Service

Why don’t some businesses understand that customer service today is an investment, as opposed to an expense? As a matter of fact, it’s not just customer service — every single interaction with any potential client of yours should be treated as an investment.

I did a live online chatting session with Comcast about their digital cable service today. As the conversation went on, it was clear to me that Clint, the service rep, was either an auto-responding robot or someone who could barely speak English and was strictly typing from a script. I wasn’t impressed either way. The responses were slow, redundant, and inhuman. At the end of the session, the final answer I got was: “please check back with us in 2 to 3 days”.

It’s mind-boggling to me that someone would spend millions of dollars on advertisement trying to get my attention, and when they finally got it, they’d let a robot to do all the talking.

Please Stop Falling For Phishing Attacks!

There was a big Hotmail scandal going on last week: around 10,000 passwords were obtained by hackers who created a fake website identical to Hotmail’s to fool users into entering their email address and password in a “phishing” scam.

That’s all “phishing” is: a scam that uses false websites to lure people into revealing important data such as bank account details, login names or passwords, and usually the link to the false website comes in a “formal” email or from one of your friends whose account has been successfully hijacked.

It’s not hard to avoid “phishing”.

The first thing you should do is to avoid clicking on links within emails. If the email appears to come from a website you use often, simply open up a new browser window and type the web address — it shouldn’t take you more than a few keystrokes before your browser remembers the address.

Another thing you can do is to ask your browser to “remember the username” for all the important websites you visit. Use is as a reminder for checking the web address when your username doesn’t show up on the website.

Google PageRank or Alexa website ranking software are also good indicators for “phishing” websites. Obviously, the fake websites won’t rank nearly as high as the real ones.

Lastly, please don’t be so curious about who blocked or deleted you from their contact list. There are plenty of others who are actually more than happy to hear from you. Why bother with those who try to avoid you?

Wobo Wednesday: Acai Force Max

Wobo Library Updated, and added: Acai Force Max.

*Wobo is just a word I made up to call those businesses who aren’t honest with the customers.

Wobo Name(s):
Acai Force Max, AcaiForceMax

The Bottom Line: Be prepared to pay at least $87.62 for one month usage of Acai Force Max.

Continue reading Wobo Wednesday: Acai Force Max


The Internet has affected a lot of industries: music, newspaper, magazine, movie, real estate, books, etc., and I think it will affect a lot more, especially if you are in the information providing business. The problem is that all of the sudden, whatever you have been selling can be found and delivered online, for free.

How do you compete with free? You can’t, really. As soon as the price reaches zero, it changes the entire game. Simply put, you no longer have the option to “sell” the product when you can’t charge for it, and that alone usually disrupts the entire business model.

So your focus needs a shift.

It’s no longer about charging for what you used to create. Instead, you should be forcing yourself to spend time on creating something which you can charge for now (and in the future). At the same time, if you can, work on turning what you are currently selling into being free before somebody else does it for you.

Reason for Failure

I think the single most popular reason for a failed online marketing campaign is because they are about you:

- You are trying to sell your product.
- You are trying to make more money.
- You are trying to build your personal brand.

The list goes on.

I think you will find an easier route to success if you just turn around and make the campaign about your audience. Try to figure out:

- How to better their lives.
- How to improve their productivity.
- How to make them rich.

and make it your top priority (over everything else).


I was asked several times over the weekend about why I spend my own time and effort, voluntarily, to write and maintain this blog.

When I explain to people that my goal is to share my thoughts, and to help one single person everyday, the most common questions were:

“So you are doing it for free?”
“Will you ever get paid?”
“What happens when you get a lot of readers? Will you get paid then?”

I usually shake my head and try to change the topic at that moment.

I guess I am being selfish. I never mention the fact that helping others brings me happiness, and that alone makes writing this blog worthwhile to me.

Figure out where your happiness comes from, then pursuit it with passion. Can you think of anything else more important than that?

Understanding Your Choice

I loved this quote in Matrix Reloaded from the Oracle to Neo: “You have already made your choice, you are just here to understand it.”

I think consumers normally don’t make decisions based on rational reasoning. Instead, they make up their minds first, then try to find the reasons to support their decisions.

As a marketer, it is your job to give your customers those reasons that will help them understand their decisions.

The History and Evolution of Social Media

…from Web Designer Depot.

With the explosion of the so-called social media these days, do you care to learn where it all came from? Here is an interest post on the subject.

Precursors to Social Media
BBS (late 70s) -> Online Services -> IRC, ICQ, IM -> Dating Sites -> Early Social Networks -> Six Degrees (1997) -> AsianAvenue, MiGente, BlackPlanet -> LiveJournal (1999)

Major Advances in Social Networking
Friendster (2002) -> LinkedIn (2003) -> MySpace (2003) -> Facebook (2004)

Media Sharing
Photobucket (2003) -> Flickr -> YouTube (2005) -> Revver

Social News and Bookmarking
Delicious (2003) -> Digg (2004) -> Reddit (2005)

Real Time Updates
Twitter (2006)

Lifestreaming and Lifecasting
Ustream.tv (2006) -> Justin.tv (2006) -> FriendFeed (2007)

Biggest Problem

I thought this was an interesting interview with Boston Market CEO Lane Cardwell on USA Today.

Q: What’s Boston Market’s biggest problem?
A: People forget about us.

Q: What’s the best way to get people to think of Boston Market?
A: You have to come up with big ideas to let people know you’re out there.

I respectfully disagree with both answers.

I think the biggest problem Boston Market has is that neither the customers nor their employees care about the product. More importantly, they give them no reason to.

The best way to get people to think of Boston Market is to first get people talking about Boston Market, and the only way to achieve that goal today is by simply being interesting.

It’s damn hard to find a solution to your problem when you can’t correctly identify the problem in the first place.

Wobo Wednesday: Clean Colon Cleanse

Wobo Library Updated, and added: Clean Colon Cleanse.

*Wobo is just a word I made up to call those businesses who aren’t honest with the customers.

Wobo Name(s):
Clean Colon Cleanse, Cleanse Pro X, Colo Cleanse Pro

The Bottom Line: Be prepared to pay at least $85.32 for one month supply.

Continue reading Wobo Wednesday: Clean Colon Cleanse

Winner Takes All!

The Internet is a world which the winner takes all, in most cases anyway. Take the below chart for instance, the majority of Twitter users have less than 500 followers, but obviously they are not close to being the most influential ones on Twitter. In fact, if you are a business of a decent size, I could argue that anything less than 500 followers is pretty much worthless. Unless, of course, it’s by design. In other words, if your goal for using Twitter is to have some sort of influence, you are a winner when you have more than 500 relevant followers.

Here is my point: because of the nature of the Web, the days of 10 companies making similar products, and each of them occupying 5 to 7% of the market share are far behind us. Instead, more often than not, for each individual market, there is a clearcut winner, and that product/service will likely take up at least 50% of the market.

So what do you do when you are not the winner in your market…yet?

Here are three options for you to consider:

#1) Shrink your market.
#2) Find a different market.
#3) Change your product to fit the market.

It’s way better to be the leader in a market of 500 people than to be number 5 in a market of 10,000.

Profit Vs. Brand

I received an email today informing me that my credit score watch annual subscription is going to be automatically renewed on 10/19/2009. Of course, when I log onto the website and try to stop the auto renewal, the option is no where to be found, so I end up having to write an email to request the cancellation.

I think it’s fair to question whether or not a business should make it easy for customers to stop a service.

Projecting the image of making your customers lives less convenient so that you can make money is never a good idea. However, in this case, complying with your customer’s needs means that you have lost the customer, probably forever.

The most pleasant experience I have had with a cancellation was from American Express: one 5 minute phone call without any real person on the other end (just the way I liked it). Even though their brand image has undoubtedly increased (for me), I haven’t used their service since.

I don’t know. This seems like a tough call: short term profit vs. long term gain. Which one would you choose?

Typical Conversation

Man #1: “I am so frustrated. I AM!”

Man #2: “About what?”

Man #1: “a) #$#@ b) $##$!#@ c) $#!$% … z) $#@!$”

Man #2: “So what are you doing about it?”

Man #1: “Ummm…nothing just yet. I am waiting for the perfect moment.”

Gap, Born to Fit

Here are two of the best commercials I have seen recently, and they are both from Gap. I think the key was that neither of them tried to sell anything. Granted, I don’t know how effective they are in helping to build the Gap brand or sell Gap products. All I am saying is that they caught my attention and I enjoyed watching both of them.

Anna Gaskell, “Born To Embrace Uncertainty”

Patrick Robinson, “Born to Explore”

P.S. The two videos are part of Gap’s “born to fit” campaign. You can watch the rest of the series on Facebook or Youtube.

“Online Access is available 24/7″!

I got this email from BestBuy yesterday that made me scratch my head a little bit.

Here is a screen shot:

Question #1: Are there any online stores that isn’t open 24/7?

Question #2: Does the BestBuy Email marketing team honestly believe that the 24/7 feature is noteworthy enough to be the only headline feature? What does it say about the product?

Question #3: Why waste their resources and my time to tell me something that I already know? More importantly, how dumb do they think I am?

Question #4: Who approved this?

Godaddy.com: The Whitespace Hater

I was talking with a friend a couple days ago about registering a domain name on Godaddy.com — she got confused with all the extra options being offered by the domain registrar and wanted to make sure that she didn’t spend any unnecessary money on useless things.

It’s as if Godaddy.com hates whitespace on their website so much that they have to stuff it with something.

I don’t have a problem when a company suggests possible add-ons to purchases. In fact, I think you are obligated to do that since you are the expert on the subject. But that’s not to say that you should throw every single possible option onto a page and say to your customers, “Here is everything you need for your website. You go do all the research and choose whatever you want.”

What’s even worse in Godaddy’s case is that most of the options are obsolete for an average website owner. In other words, it’s like asking an average 80-year-old guy to pay for a gym membership with all kinds of classes knowing full well that he is highly unlikely to attend any of them.

At the end of the day, no one wants to be treated as a sucker.

Wobo Wednesday: Activlite

Wobo Library Updated, and added: Activlite.

*Wobo is just a word I made up to call those businesses who aren’t honest with the customers.

Wobo Name(s):

The Bottom Line:
You will receive supply for 30 days along with your trial samples. Expect to pay at least $81.93.

Continue reading Wobo Wednesday: Activlite

Nobody is Good at Everything

That’s not the point.

- Avoid the things you are lousy at;

- sleepwalk through the things you are good at;

- and (only) keep working on the things you are amazing at.

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