Where is the iPhone?

UPDATE: My bad. Chris, my good friend told me I missed it and I did. The iPhone goes on sale tomorrow, not today. 6pm tomorrow actually. I missed it. Sorry AT&T. I look forward to seeing you blow it out on your site tomorrow.

Today marks the first day that the Apple iPhone is available for purchase. Apple hooked up with AT&T (formerly Cingular) for the phone service. In case you've missed it somehow, the iPhone has been one of the most hyped devices in the history of hyped devices. So here's my question...where's the iPhone on the AT&T website?

Ok, so the iPhone can be found on the front page of the AT&T site. My real question is why isn't it the first thing you see? Why is it minimized to a small fraction of front page real estate? Today is the big coming out party for the iPhone so you would think it would dominate the AT&T front page but instead they've given it a small box that doesn't even show the phone, but the Apple logo instead. Here's what it looks like:

Now compare that to Apple's front page. It's all iPhone.

Perhaps there's a reason for this, though I'm not sure what it would be. Both companies obviously gain from promoting the iPhone in a big way so why would AT&T minimize it on the big launch day? Is this symbolic of AT&T's reliance on Apple to do all the marketing for the iPhone while AT&T gets the new service plans? Is it a simple oversight? Maybe this was on purpose on AT&T's part for some reason. Whatever the case, I can't help but feel that AT&T's missed it here.


Google Docs/Spreadsheets Get New Look

If you're a fan of the increasing number of tools Google provides, you've likely been using their Documents & Spreadsheets. I use these on a regular basis and find them about as easy to navigate as anything out there. In fact, I like their spreadsheets better than Microsoft Excel or Open Office's Calc.

Yesterday I noticed that Google updated the layout and some features. The new look feels much more accessible and presents all your files very cleanly. There's also a new folders feature so you can group your documents into individual folders like you might do in an email client. The new view also lets you see all the people you're sharing document access with and how many docs/spreadsheets they have access to. This is a great new design and I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered it yesterday.


Video of the Week: Stop It

Cancel your upcoming counseling session. This will tell you everything you need to know.

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3 Reasons Why You Need Bloggers

My friend Chris is one of the more creative people I know. Not in an artsy kind of way but in the kind of way where he has ideas that challenge conventional thinking and go against the flow enough to be different but still fit within mainstream interest. He recently began an endeavor to eat all 51 sandwich combinations at a local Which Wich? sandwich shop and blog about each sandwich. Chris also lets his readers vote on one of five sandwiches each day in the comments and the winning sandwich of the day is the one he eats at lunch.

At first he was doing the reviews and his friends and family were commenting on the sandwiches for the day. Then he started to get noticed by the folks at his local Which Wich as the guy who blogged about their sandwiches. The next thing he knows there's a stamp on all the sandwich bags like the one seen here. Then a bunch of widely read blogs start talking about the story and days later he gets a call from the founder of Which Wich who wants to fly to Nashville to have lunch with him and today I learned that all Which Wich shops across the country will likely be stamping their bags with the "Will Chris Make All 51?" slogan in a week or so.

So what can you learn about your need for bloggers from all of this? Here are three things that come to mind immediately:

  • Bloggers provide free publicity. Until Chris started the Which Wich challenge I'd never even heard of the place and I live in a metropolitan area with two locations. I even noticed the downtown Which Wich just yesterday for the first time and I've driven by it dozens of times. Blogs are the ultimate in word of mouth marketing and provide the holy grail of publicity at the most fundamental levels. They influence people either on the basis of an authentic and objective opinions or with a personal relationship you'll never be able to match.
  • Bloggers affect your Google results. As I write this, four out of the first ten items on a Google search for "which wich" are either from Chris' blog or about what Chris is doing. In this case it turns out to be good PR for Which Wich but if Chris had a bone to pick with them and consistently talked about it that could be news for Which Wich as curious Internet searchers would find all kinds of negative commentary right off the bat. Have you Googled your organization recently? Have you checked both the Google image search and the Google blog search for your organization's name? Got Google alerts set up for your organization and key leaders? If not, you might want to see if you've got a fan (or foe) blogger out there.
  • Bloggers will keep you sharp. The most fundamental thing you can do to get bloggers to talk about you has nothing to do with bloggers at all. If you do what you do well, a blogger will find you and tell other people about it on his or her blog. If you do it well consistently you might even get a person like Chris to generate a lot of genuine interest your way. If that day comes, take a note from the Which Wich playbook and support that blogger all the way.


Video of the Week: Conny Has Talent

This is a great video. If you haven't seen it sit back and enjoy...seriously...you'll like this.

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MicroExplosion - 1st Blogiversary

Today marks a full year of blogging for me here at MicroExplosion. I just checked my post count and there have been 204 posts and 203 comments. The most commented post of the year was just after my daughter was born back in November. The least commented...well...there were plenty of posts that didn't get any response at all.

I've learned so many things by blogging and I'm convinced it was a catalyst for several changes in my life. Professionally speaking, blogging has given me several additional writing outlets (see the "writing and stuff" section over to the right) and created an opportunity to make a transition with my job back in January. Personally, I've been able to connect with so many people I would have never met otherwise. I now know like minded people (some of whom I've even been able to meet in person) all across the United States and Europe.

One year ago tonight I said: "This blog is dedicated to people who want to use the tools of web 2.0 to make an impact on the world." I'm pleased to reflect on the year and see that I stayed on course as if there were a loyal band of readers demanding my adherence to the subject. That was the goal and the goal was achieved, but more importantly I now see that the person who needed this blog most was in fact, me. Though this blog has been a public journey of learning I have recently discovered a deep and exciting personal treasure of application that I anticipate will truly test the things I've learned.

Last year my focus was on learning about web 2.0 tools. This year it's about impacting the world. I can't wait to see what we get to talk about at next year's MicroExplosion blogiversary.


It's Southern Baptist Convention time!

I'm in San Antonio, Texas for two days doing some work for a client at the annual Southern Baptist Convention. Anyone else made the trip? Shoot me an email or leave a comment (or call my cell phone if you like.)


Video of the Week: Photosynth, interactive photo composites (by Microsoft no less)

What if all the pictures of any location or landmark on a site like Flickr were pulled together to form an interactive, three dimensional composite of the image. Microsoft has acquired the technology to do that and you can see a demo below. You can also play with it yourself on the Microsoft Photosynth website. This is quite fascinating and a great new use for social media.

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Can people leave feedback on your site?

I've been doing some research recently on website development and best practices. The other day on eMarketer I found some interesting information that confirmed something I suspected: online reviews written by fellow shoppers help convert consumers who research shopping decisions online. 60% or respondents of their study prefer sites with peer-written product reviews and only 14% did not trust such reviews.

In the case study, top-rated products converted at a 49% higher rate after Petco added customer reviews to its site. Shoppers who navigated through the ratings section spent 63% more than shoppers using other navigation. The average order size of Petco shoppers who read reviews and shopped using review ratings links was 40% higher than that of the typical shopper.

Beyond the shopping implications to having feedback built into a website, think about the power of comments on a site. The new online culture is one of inclusion, collaboration and participation. Comments on a site allow that to happen as good as anything available to you. It doesn't require much from the user and the perceived value is huge. Even if they never leave a comment at least they know they can (and that you're open to hearing from them.)

Where can you build feedback mechanisms into your site? If you blog and don't have comments turned on consider changing that. If you're worried about spam at least moderate the comments or better yet, just incorporate the security image function that most blog tools have built in.


Video of the Week: Rabbit feet returned to owners

This is another great example of a business (insurance of all things) breaking out to do some creative video and getting free online mileage out of it.

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