Help Best Buy Claim “Worst Company in America”

It’s against some difficult competition this year (BP, Toyota), but I’m rooting for Best Buy to win the coveted Consumerist.com “Worst Company in America” (see brackets). Just scan the Consumerist archives for Best Buy and Geek Squad to see all the proof you’ll need.

We honored the consumer-electronic megafirm with the dubious WillVideoForFood 2010 “Greatest Corporate Social-Media Collapse” award, and were pleased to turn down a request to promote the company’s highly criticized “buy back” program you’ve perhaps seen so whimsically advertised on television (3D and 4D dad gets called “silly head”).

With apologies to the Geek Squad members that are competent and have social skills, the service division of Best Buy has done great things to secure Best Buy’s rise in its “worst company” bracket. And hey- it needs only beat Radio Shack initially. How hard can that be?

In the spirit of social-media transparency, my support of Best Buy in this race is motivated by this episode. More importantly, Best Buy’s decision to completely ignore my communication… and allow me to pay a ticket/fine for smiling and handing a Geek Squad driver my business card to explain why I videotaped him (which he reported to the police as a threat).

I’ll let you know when it’s time to vote!

Crappiest Corporate Holiday eMail Contest: Holiday Spam

Holiday spam time! I’m holding a contest to see who can identify the crappiest holiday e-mail greeting! Can you top these three? It shouldn’t be hard. And you get extra points if you uncover a really bad corporate eGreeting that’s trying to mimic a viral video and does so awkwardly. After all, we’re a video blog here… which means occasionally we talk about video.

Some winning criteria for the WillVideoForFood “Crappiest Corporate eMail Greeting of 2010” award:  a) use the online medium for form over function, b) lack taste and humor, especially if it tries anyway, c) is unpersonalized, d) is self serving, e) it accidentally politically incorrect, f) is obviously providing the least effort possible.

Here are my the three leaders so far. Please put yours in the link, or e-mail me if that’s better. NOTE: remove any codes after & or specific numbers/letters… thus the penny-pinching gifter won’t know who “outed” them. Except in my case I guess.

1) CLIP FART: The anonymous company that sent an e-mail with this ass-face clipart picture. I asked the sales rep if his retarded son drew it, and he said yes… and the son aspired to be a viral video maker. I told him to turn up the retardometer. I’m convinced Tommy (not his real name) just didn’t know how to turn off the auto-greeter via his sales force automation software.

2) MIDI-OGRE This InVivo website a corporate friend sent me because a) you have to download software, and b) while you’re downloading (what is probably spyware) an annoying midi loops. I somehow have two sessions open, and the song is in a weird infinite echo that’s like Santa on acid. I can’t even find the open browser windows and it’s making me insane.

3) CHARIT-INABILITY Thirdly (and I won’t share this for obvious reasons) was the corporate eGreeting that invited me to click on one of three charities. I clicked on one, refreshed and clicked another. So maybe they’re not even tracking (or donating), or else I just tripled their donation and tomorrow may decide to bankrupt them.

What do you have? Special points if it’s a horrible viral-video holiday eGreeting… but it has to be from a company. And go for a stupid-ass pun name like my three to cheese it up even more.

Cheesy Gif I Just Got Reminding Us" Jesus Is the Reason for the Season."

THIS JUST IN 12/21: TheDoctorsChannel’s Sonny and Cher pet parody.

“Online Influencers” Definition: TechCrunch vs. Fast Company; 4Chan’s Moot Photo Faked.

Fast Company’s November issue takes on the subject of online influencers, with prominent features of YouTubers, iJustine and MysteryGuitarMan. The piece provided some nice insights into the “going rate” of a weblebrity/webstar… mid-high six figure incomes with $20-$50K per sponsored videos. Sustainable?

Techcrunch took objection to the piece and brought it out back for a good-times ass whooping. And to that I shout, “fight, fight, fight” (and hope nobody kicks my ass while I get some good footage). Here’s a picture of Justine Ezarik. I’m not swiping the one of Joe Penna (MGM) because I’m too lazy.

Most online publications took on the debate of "online influencers" as an excuse to use photos of iJustine to boost page views.

The real surprise of the article, beyond such trivial disputes as to “what defines online influence,” is this… who would have thought that 4Chan’s “Moot” would be fairly zit free, thin, and (dare I concede without sounding perverted) handsome? Is this an elaborate plot by “Anonymous” to give Moot a fake image, torn from some J. Crew catalog or an Asian teen porn magazine?

4Chan's "Moot" isn't as ugly as we might have expected

Yeah I’d say we’ve been punked. That aint Moot. Here’s the real Moot. But you gotta love 4Chan. I’ll bet they cleverly manipulated all of the influence data, showing that Fast Company and TechCrunch are both wrong. Fight, fight, fight!

The real Moot (4chan)

Just remember kids… I may not be in the cool crowd, but I knew them when.

TechCrunchTV Debates Crowdsourcing Creative, Sucks

Peter LaMotte GeniusRocket
GeniusRocket CEO Peter LaMotte in a rare moment where he gets to speak on TechCrunchTV.

The Gap logo disaster brought attention to crowdsourced creative, and the issue is debated in this awkward cable-TV-like debate about the rights and wrongs of crowdsourced creative. Occasionally we get to hear from GeniusRocket’s CEO Peter LaMotte (who happens to be the guest of the segment), but mostly co-hosts Sarah Lacy and Paul “I like to say fuck” Carr try to out-clever each other with quotes like “crowds are stupid,” “there’s so fucking many designers,” “we touched on this before we started filming,” and “poor Paris Hilton.”

Still, it’s worth noting that GeniusRocket is playing in a similar market as Poptent.net, and bridging the gap between tight-budget companies and freelance creators (animation, “viral” videos, and graphics). LaMotte says he’s worked also with small brands and agencies, but estimates that crowdsourcing will overtake no more than 20 percent of advertising revenue. He also observes that brands can customize creative for specific demographics with smaller budgets ($40K vs hundreds of thousands) to maximize media spends.

The video ends with a sample crowd-sourced ad for Athena Hummus. It’s a bit better than my Hummus video.

If you can make it through the entire TechCrunchTV “interview,” you’ll be quite impressed by LaMotte’s intelligence…. If only by contrast by the hosts. Sorry, TechCrunchTV. But stick with the digital word, and leave these shows to the campus television networks. Or heck- crowd source the show.

Most horrendously awkward interview ever: so we get more resources, right Uncle Tim?

Wait TechCrunch is an AOL property now, so I suppose it doesn’t matter anymore. Watch Erick Schonfeld’s painfully awkward interview with AOL’s Tim Armstrong (formerly Google sales leader). It’s like watching Fast Company or Industry Standard die again. Wait- one of those is still alive, right?

Worst Corporate eCard of Holidays

Let’s work together here, people, and see if we can find the worst-ever eCards from corporations. Agencies are especially gifted at providing cheesy holiday eGreetings that damage their brand. Now this one gets some credit for the script and cast, but the awkward direction, editing, and B-grade acting help land itself on the “WVFF Worst Holiday eCard” list.

Anyone else care to nominate one?

AppleTV & iTunes Dissintermediates Cable? Bigger Than Balloonboy Story.

Wowzer. Your’e going to want to read this post, because it’s hot news. And because I put some effort into some seriously solid metaphors that damned well better be scraped by some bigger bloggers.

For years I’ve been bitching and moaning about Apple not putting its little heart into AppleTV (instead of screwing with these ridiculous iPhone toys and their petulant little “apps”).

stevejobsfeces

And all the while, the little Steve Jobs may have his eye on dissintermediating cable television. Fast Company provides some saucy news, and sources “All Things Digital.”

But this isn’t about the AppleTV, idiot. No it’s not about software or hardware. Apple is basically envisioning a $30-per-month iTunes television offering, which would give networks new reach via 100 million iTunes users. And that means you, like the 100 million iTunes users, would start watching shows via Apple both on your computer and (via some box) that big-ass monitor you call a Plasma or HDTV.

Do I need to repeat that? Television shows when you want, and on whatever damned screen you want. Oh, and a gentle reminder that technology companies will control your fate more than telephone, cable, publishers and networks (never mind that whole AOL/Times Warner hickup).

Alas, it’s hard for me to envision a scenario where cable companies don’t start tossing fecal matter like angry apes. But it’s a game of chess, not the beloved “toss-the-feces” we’d play at birthday parties. If Disney, as an example, slept with Apple… what could the angry ex (cable companies) do? They can’t very well drop Disney. And since Disney’s move would be the “tipping point” this all needs, Disney gets to set the terms. Girl, you know those Mickey Mice could nibble up an Apple like Piranha to a cow.

Fundamentally the broadcast networks have to decide whose bitch they want to be. Cable television or Apple’s.

If the music industry feels that iTunes was a good thing (additive revenue that didn’t exactly kill radio or CD sales entirely), then maybe the television networks go the same route. And to keep Apple “in check” they can replicate the terms via Hulu, YouTube or even some genius that manages to build a television-manufacturer standard.

The bottom line, however, is the train already left the station. I’m an example of a fast-follower (not early adopter), and I’m spending more each month on $1.99 television episodes than I am on a cable bill! I loath Verizon’s interface and on-demand library, and persist only because my wife likes depressing news and Nancy Grace, and my kids need their Nick Jr.

To be fair, I’m discovering I liked the control of “lean forward,” but I want to lay down on the couch and bed too. Love my TiVo, but it didn’t catch any fresh fish (like during this damned Fox Fringe hiatus), I dive into AppleTV and try out a new show… maybe buy a few episodes or a season pilot because $1.99 ain’t a bad price for 45 minutes of some boob-tube love making. I’m less often surfing YouTube’s most-popular list because it’s just a sad reminder remind of how much better Sxephil, Shaycarl, CharlesTrippy and ShaneDawson are than me. Last night me, Charlie and Grant and me did start a YouTube binge that began with Edbassmaster, then progress on a downward spiral that culminated in farts and babies. But then we jumped back to paid episodes of Angry Beavers. Damn that intro is hip.

Speaking of YouTube, those trained monkeys better get their own poop in palm. They’ve cornered the market on searchable video, but this is a bidneth model that can move faster than ad-supported web video. I think this crap (you know the kids are saying that now like it means nothing anymore) is bigger than the Balloonboy story. Except the Falcon hiding in the attic and puking on CNN might just be… Comcast, Verizon and other cable providers. I predict Hulu maintains its relevance if this shakes out, unless Apple iTunes makes itself incredibly easy to purchase and view via both web and those BIG ASS televisiony-like monitors. Hell in a few years, maybe we don’t even know or care where our video content comes from.

Yeah- I even think this story might be bigger news even than last night’s AppleTV upgrade:

“WTF? A vertical menu?” he says, tossing his mini white remote that has been chewed to near obsolescence. Fade to black.