Trouble with Yelp

Yelp is a social media review site. User of Yelp write reviews on business that they use and go to. It is an application that I use occasionally myself especially if I go to a new business. This can be a win for both businesses and the consumer. However, I have seen several articles about businesses “who are suing Yelp for unfair and unethical conduct in promoting, marketing and advertising its website as maintaining unbiased reviews” is unlawful.” .

The lawsuits, indicate that businesses who do not agree to pay Yelp to advertise on their websites have had favorable reviews removed from Yelp. If this was just one report, I would toss it off as sour grapes. However there have been a smattering of similar complaints across the country. The story is basically the same, the company in question was getting mostly good reviews on Yelp. They then get a call from Yelp offering them the opportunity to buy monthly advertisement when they decline the offer, their favorable reviews were removed or dropped off greatly.

As a user I hope this is not true. I depend on Yelp to tell me if a business is worth using or going to. If I am getting reviews that are being manipulated by Yelp, then it is useless to me. It also doesn’t make sense as a business decision for Yelp. Review sites like Yelp depend on consumers believing that the reviews are based on all customer feedback to the site, both positive and negative. If it was ever confirm that Yelp was manipulating the data, that would mean the end for them.

Yelp, says its simply a misunderstanding how the process is done. Unfortunately,some businesses try to game the system, creating fake reviews to build up their reputation. Yelp watches the reviews using both a computers and individuals to catch and remove false reviews. However if businesses can prove that Yelp is manipulating reviews against those businesses who do not advertise with them, then Yelp is in trouble. As I said before I hope this lawsuits have no merit, I will definitely be waiting for the results.

Consumers, Brands and Social Networks

If you are retailer and want to build your brand, social networks are where you need to be, says IDC in a new report.  According to it, Web 2.0 is creating opportunities for competitive advantage with the top 10 social networks having over 1.3 billion members.  Yes, there’s plenty of people who live on more than one network but that’s still a pretty big number.

IDC says, “Social networks, blogs, price comparison Web sites, and the likes can all be used by retailers of all kinds and sizes to attract and influence customers, to study demand patterns, to improve brand reputation, and, finally, to provide customer support.”  I’d certainly agreed with the latter – I think we’ve all heard the stories about certain companies responding to individuals who have tweeted about problems they’ve had with products.

It also notes that the social networks are a great source of information about customers and what they’re saying about products, whether it’s the retailer’s or a competitors.  For those of us in the space, this isn’t exactly news but for companies looking in and wanting to get value out of their investment, this is going to be important.

Obviously, it’s taking time but if the big consultancies are now able to produce reports with hard data regarding the benefits of social media, the money will start coming into the social / new media and out of traditional media.

The full report costs money but you can read the press release for free.

GNC-2010-03-09 #558 Monster Show!

This show was a monster, lots of Audio comments from Call in Hotline at 619-342-7365 and a truckload of email. Lots of Tech Content and a new sponsor introduction tonight. Be sure to check out the sponsor link below. Lot’s of amazing news and commentary from all over the web. Big Thank You to the Ohana for staying subscribed and helping this show grow each month. Next stop SXSW in Austin will be recording live on Thursday night lots of fun for all.

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Listener Links:
More Dollars for Net Based Advertising!
Saturday Deliveries Canceled?
Parents not Amused!
IT Guys Scapegoats?

Show Links:
Is your next digital key your iPhone?
Anti-Data Caps Representative Resigns!
Lip Reading Mobile App?
Mac Video Storage Tips!
How Pandora beat the odds!
Space Shuttle debate gets ugly!
ISP’s paid group to spy on P2P users!
Google Going after Microsoft Round 3!
PeePoo Bag.
More HTML5 Commentary!
NY Post needs to learn how to give bloggers credit!
Low Power Radio Station Guidelines!
Browser Election Results!
Newegg and fake Intel chips!
Energizer Duo Software loaded with Trojan 3+ yrs!!!
This is Power Monitoring!
Verizon soon to be Wireless speed King?
Cisco to Announce something Major!
Air Video gotta Have it!
Tabbed Out for SXSW Beer Tabs!
Net a fundamental right 4-5!
411 on National Broadband Plan!
Apple App license Exposed by EFF!
iPad Apps may come up short!
Mediagazer tracking MSM!
Ad Blocking and the Impact on sites!
Google Japanese Translation simply Sucks!
Security coming to Ford Sync!
WordPress CMS Lite?
Colorado Amazon Affiliate Program RIP!
Understanding the Milky Way!
Digital Advertising Spend to Increase!
National ID card to Work?

Send in your stories to and be sure to provide a link to your websites!

Why Ad Blocking Hurts Sites like this one

The folks over at Ars Technica of which I am a personal fan, put out a post today titled “Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you love“.

There is no way I could have expressed as elegantly as they did what I have felt for a very long time. I am not sure I would have done the experiment that they did, but I have to admit I bet a few folks eyes bugged out of there heads when they were the recipients of the experiment. Do you Love us? Please white list us and don’t block the ads, those ads help keep the lights on!

Why I walked away from “TWO” 4 Figure Twitter Ad Deals

twitter-advertisingI’ll be honest it was very difficult to walk away from two separate Twitter advertising deals that would have netted me over $10,000 over the Thanksgiving holiday. I am sure many people will tell me that I am nuts to have walked away from that kind of money. The companies involved were both great companies, and the products I would have been pitching would have lined up well with my twitter followers. The more I thought about it though the more I scratched my head and here is what went into my thought process.

My Audio Podcast audience has grown dramatically and is now north of 150,000 unique listeners per episode. That audience is used to hearing advertising in the show, and I can take the time during the show to talk about the products and services offered. The main advertisers for my show have stayed with me for nearly five years.  Now if you compare this to my 5000 followers on twitter the delta between the two audiences numbers is significant. Yet I was being offered nearly $2.00 a twitter follower which is simply an amazing amount of money across both deals to simply tweet about some products and services on sale over the Thanksgiving holiday.

What puzzled me is that they wanted to advertise on my twitter account  with 5000 followers yet had no interest in my 150,000  dedicated listeners via my podcast?  Lets break it down via Twitter each company was willing to pay $1000.00 per 1000 followers. On my podcast they could have reached 1000 listeners at our lowest advertising rates for $20.00  at our highest advertising rates of $65.00 per 1000 listeners it would have been a  bargain.

On my Podcast I could have given the companies a full 2-3 minutes of promotion and relationship building versus some  140 character messages over 5 days.  What campaign would have gained higher ROI?  Well let me talk about what I know. Today I know that 93% of my podcast audience of 150k listener listen to “97%” of my 75 minute program twice a week. I know that 60% + of my listeners annual salary is greater than $80,000 a year and that 70% an greater spend more than $5000.00 per year online. I could have stats them to death, broken down demographics, married versus single, and a host of other standard metrics and some not so standard via our podcast statistics service.

Now lets look at Twitter I probably miss about 95% of the tweets of people I follow, so what was their goal SEO or actually reaching my followers? I have no idea of the actual demographics or my twitter followers, I have no idea how many read my post, I have no idea if they are even using twitter anymore.  What that equates to me is a lot of risk for the companies that wanted to advertise and likely very little ROI.

So with rock solid podcast stats why would companies not advertise in my podcast verses to my twitter follow list? You would think that after 5 years of having the same advertisers on my show, and across our network of podcasters that other companies would have woken up by now and figured out that they know something that they don’t!  I have a challenge to some campaign manager out there, I would love to go head to head in a CPM campaign where we pitted Podcast versus Twitter pushing the same product. If I was allowed to deploy the campaign the way I wanted I would predict that a podcast campaign would have ROI 25-50x higher than what could ever be obtained in a twitter campaign.

So why did I walk away from 10 grand? It’s pretty simply if you have been following my show and this article. First my followers trust me and they expect me to provide info in my Twitter feed that is relevant to what I do. In my podcast they come for the same reason but they also know I have bills to pay. The difference is in my podcast they trust the products I put in front of them of which have been vetted by me in advance.  When I endorse a product and sponsor in my show it is because I have a relationship with the vendor. On a twitter campaign, there is no vetting of products, there is no time to develop a relationship with the company. The twitter campaign would have rang hollow to my followers as there was no time to build  a (Vendor+Host+Audience) relationship.

It is way overdue for advertisers to wake up and figure out that there is a better way to get ROI from a social advertising campaign. If advertisers want to know how we deliver the goods and put companies messages in front of 10’s of millions of listeners and viewers each month they can reach out to me over at RawVoice. My team will show them how we can drive sales and life long customers. We build relationships and no twitter, print, tv or radio campaign will “EVER” do that.

Meanwhile I wish the companies luck over the Thanksgiving holiday, and if my analysis is correct and the twitter campaign did not deliver what you expected maybe the same media buyers will reach out and we can do something really cool down the road.

Note: While I am sure many of you will be asking me who the companies are, I assure you I will never disclose that privately or publicly as I would love to do some deals with these companies in the future on a much bigger scale and show them what can be accomplished through advertising in podcasts.

Todd Cochrane

Apple, What Are You Up To?

appleWord comes today that Apple has applied for a patent for an “enforcement routine” that will force viewers to see commercials on various devices. And when I say force, I truly mean force.

The patent application indicates that the forced-advertisement will freeze a device until you indicate that you’ve actually read/responded to the ad (through the use of clicking a box or answering a test question). This technology would work on any device with a screen, including televisions, computers, media devices, cell phones, etc. The ads can appear at any time while the device is being used.

What the patent application calls the “enforcement routine” involves administering periodic tests of the user, like displaying a pop-up box within the ad, requiring a response (a button that must be pressed within five seconds before disappearing) to confirm that the user is paying attention.

These tests then become progressively more aggressive and difficult to confirm if a user has failed a previous test. The response box can be made smaller and smaller, requiring more concentration from the user to find and press to confirm they are reading/responding to the advertisement. There may be a need to press various keyboard combinations, enter a date, or type in the name of the advertiser as commanded, to demonstrate that the user is paying attention.

Of course, Apple does not think this is nefarious in any way. They are saying that having this type of forced advertising would allow devices to be sold for lower prices or even be given for free, and that to avoid the advertising, simply paying a fee should free up your device from the forced advertising.

This whole thing feels like a 180 turn from Apple’s usual business practices, at least in my mind. It certainly doesn’t endear me to Apple products and services, that’s for sure. What Apple, and many other businesses, fail to accept and embrace is that the business model is changing. This type of George Orwellian behavior is not appreciated nor desired by users. I have seen plenty of intrusive “free” services that only frustrate me and keep me from using them in the first place (“free wifi” in the airport, anyone?).

If you want me to “see” advertising, then make it compelling. Make me want to watch it. But the minute you start forcing me to watch it, you can almost guarantee that I won’t be buying whatever that product is. Like an elephant, I have a very long memory, and I will not forget. That can’t bode well for any advertiser’s long-term future.

BlogWorld and New Media Expo Info

On Tuesday night I fly out to Blog World and New Media Expo. This is one of my most looked forward to trips of the year. It’s more a family reunion than anything. My team from RawVoice is joining me and we have a booth as always.  So while it will be part business it is going to be part play as well.  I have put together a little informational video on what is happening next week in Vegas.

If your going to BlogWorld be sure to come to my two conference sessions.

  • Saturday 11:45 How to prep your show to make it Advertiser Friendly
    Todd Cochrane: In this session you will learn exactly how to make your show and website meet the criteria advertisers are looking for. With four years of experience in podcast advertising, Todd will share with you details you will need to take your show from hobby to a revenue generator. Learn the advertising terms, pricing criteria and sensible expectations of what your show is capable of making in revenue.
  • Saturday 4:15 Promoting Podcasts through the Directories
    Rob Greenlee, Todd Cochrane, Gary Weland will talk about getting your podcast promoted through sites such as Zune MarketPlace, PodcastPickle, and others. We will talk about tips and tricks that will make sure your directory listing is effective.

For more info on what we have cooking check out the full details on the Blubrry Blog

GNC-2009-07-28 #497 Late Night with Todd and Tech News

Late night recording here folks lots of tech as usual ton of email and some voicemail comments as always. Huge thank you to all our sponsors, support them the best you can and be sure to get a free trial to GotoMeeting it will change the way you do business online.

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Listener Links:
Taser can bring down 3 at once!
Apple Tablet and New Business Model!
United Airlines should not have broke his Guitar!
USS Normandy deploys to Atlantic
German Stealth Fighter WWII
Palm Pre Review #1
Palm Pre Review #2
GNC Ringtone get it Now!

Show Topic Notes:
More ads coming to a Movie near you!
Charge a Laptop in 2 Minutes?
Top Movie Torrents for July!
Walk like a Astronaut!
Dumber and Dumber
Vaccine for Colon Cancer Possible!
Do you ignore PC Security Warnings?
AT&T under Attack.
Broadband Speed claims not met!
UK Mars Rover to Launch 2018.
A 6500km wall to contain desert?
Skilled Immigrants Leaving the United States.
Microsoft and Amazon big Losses in Q2
Twitter Site Showdowns and Callouts?
Micorsoft Mobile App will it Matter?
Apple makes Music industry Happy.
Sleep on the ISS and other Info.
Blue Food Dye could stop Paralysis!
Emergency Patch Tuesday Today!
Shuttle / ISS Picture against the Sun.
CO2 Scrubber fixed on ISS!
Wifi for all Verizon Fios/DSL Customers!
Bio Fuel Breakthrough?
Skin Cells to Mice?
Is the AP even relevant?
Power Utility says Solar Customers show pay user Fee?
Google Voice iPhone Apps kicked out of App Store.
Smart Milk Jug
iPhone Image Tricks
New Storage Shelf
Would you share your Myfi connection?
Ten things you did know about Apollo 11
31 Stunning National Geographic Images!
31 Business Ideas for Facebook.
Live Video Streaming Suggestions.
Sprint Pissed off the wrong person!
Teens in Tech Critcized.

Online Local News Forces Local Businesses Online

The truths:

  1. News is moving online.  People want instant access to news without waiting until the next morning or afternoon.
  2. The recession has caused a terrifying drop in printed advertising causing a quick but low profit move online.

The conclusions:

  1. Local news companies must move to quick unabbreviated news online that incorporates local business advertising.
  2. Local businesses must move online with a web presence that brings both foot traffic to the brick and mortar store as well as an online business.


An example:

The Fargo Forum moved to a CMS and used their site extremely well during the recent flood.  The site is not necessarily as polished and easy to navigate as, but a good start in the online news business.  However, the prime advertising real estate on the site is for Forum operated sites.  Sites that local businesses can join and participate/advertise in.  Really they are ads for the Forum classifieds (i.e. Homes, Apartments, Cars, etc.)  There are really very few ads for individual businesses.  And once you visit the the business you may or may not be greeted by a discount or sales offer.  This must change if local news and businesses are going to make the transition.  The Forum is definitely in the game and making progress but it has room to grow.

The online move of news could force more and more local businesses to develop a true online presence.  It may not mean an online store, but it will mean an online version of what they would have had printed in the paper.  Additionally, they can have the equivalent of an entire sales flier for the price of an online click-through ad.  Could this mean a resurgence for web developers as local businesses must build dynamic CMS sites?  I believe that the local news agencies and businesses that catch on to this partnership and market will rediscover the advertising gold mine.  The early bird will get the worm.

Old Media and the New Frontier

Recently Disney bought an estimated 30 percent stake in, bringing the streaming giant even closer to world domination, and adding to the credibility of its online-based television distribution force.

It is clear that and its partners have invested large sums of money into developing and funding this new media distribution center, yet anytime someone tries to bring this content to the general public and make it easy to use, they seem to go out of their way to hurt their own investment.

Take Boxee for example, they have developed an easy to use interface that collects all of the online media sources into one place for users of a broad range of operating systems. Instead of embracing and thanking them for this improved user interface and social media integration, Hulu’s partners demanded that Hulu take steps to ensure that their content wasn’t available on Boxee’s system.

Their chief concern according to many tech analysts is that the major media companies make more money from standard broadcast commercials than they do from online advertising. This sounds to me like the classic question of “What came first the chicken or the egg?”

It would seem logical to me that the best way to improve the value of your product for advertisers would be to reach as mainy people as possible. In a time of economically hardships such as these I would expect that advertisers, like any other business, would be looking for the most bang for their buck. I would state that online distribution is a much better advertising proposition for today’s market, for one simple reason. if I’m watching something I’ve recorded on my DVR equipped cable box, there is zero chance of me watching an ad. If I’m watching Hulu or one of the other major media online outlets that have built-in mandatory ads, I’m almost guaranteed to watch it unless I need to get up and refill my drink or perform another mundane tasks typically reserved for commercial breaks.

As it stands now, television has went from the world of ad supported shows of the 1960’s to the DVRed shows with no commercial breaks of the 21st Century.

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