Righting [Perceived] Wrongs

I knew a band once called "Right The Wrong." Not sure what happened to them. Sticking with Apple news, a lot of iPhone owners were feeling buyers remorse yesterday when the company dropped the phone's price by $200. I like what I read about it yesterday: it was an "early adopter" tax. My opinion: it's a free market system in the US, so if you paid that amount to got what you wanted. If I buy a 2008 car now, they're not going to give me the money back when they cut prices on them next year.

But Apple's a company that cares about public perception so it wasn't too surprising today when Steve Jobs offered old iPhone owners $100 in store credit. Giving back millions in profit might not seem the smartest move but they're investing in the future.

I predict this will be an iPod Christmas for many.

Facebook Fury

Is Myspace dying? It's not quite dead yet, but I think you could put it on the dead wagon. I really never liked Myspace because I felt it was Mickey Mouse. I check it once every few days to delete the p0rn spam I get there. Even though I suck at social networking, I've been excited about Facebook which is cleaner [except for all those crappy add-ons you people need to get over] but I've still maintained both because . . . well, how could I turn my back on all those friends?

It seems that the past month or so has seen an huge influx of new people to Facebook. In fact, it leads me to believe that many people will soon completely abandon Myspace. Someone recently told me that Facebook is becoming the site for "old[er] people" but I wonder if this is sour grapes. Whereas a lot of college friends now work the Facebook, few people from my high school have picked up on it.

So which side do you choose in the social networking Civil War? Or are you a border state? Or are you participating in the Underground Railroad?

Answer, friends: Myspace or Facebook?

Yikes! [interwebs-erly speaking]

Two great stories to share tonight, but first I need to describe conquering my Everest. I was out of the house this morning, returning to find a note from Kelly saying she couldn't connect to the internet. After a few tweaks, I realized that I couldn't either. Realized that since we had the new service installed this week, both our laptops had been on continually until last night. So I was guessing it was some sort of system reset.

I started messing with it at noon, stopped from five till eight-thirty, and just got it working at ten. I knew I couldn't go to sleep without getting this working.

Suffice to say, I got nothing accomplished today.

An iPhone Thought

I'm not getting one because I'm cheap, but I can't remember this much hype over one product. Even if the iPhone doesn't conquer the world, I think it will end up transforming the cell phone industry. I found this local news story fascinating, as it describes how businesses are reacting to the iPhone. One quote in particular from an executive was intriguing:

"At this juncture we're not planning on testing the iPhone, but that could change depending on the acceptance of the phone."

So if it's popular, they'll get it. Way to be a visionary. Similarly, must feel good to be Verizon who passed over the opportunity to be the phone carrier of the project.

Honestly, my gut says the Apple's not gonna claim the market they think they will. But this could become a watershed event that will change they way we interact with computers.

Time will tell.

And We're Back

The whole Echo Church web presence is back. Had a little server issue since late last night, but it's settled now and life is cheery. What's crazy is that despite having a good amount of bandwidth, we're getting closer to our monthly limit again. It still comes down to more people downloading our teaching podcasts. There are consistently more people listening to the mp3 then are actually in the service. Not sure what that means but maybe, like someone has been pushing me, we need to evaluate new ways to take better advantage of our podcasting presence.


Still figuring out how to best take advantage of my Wordpress set-up so I made some site changes on the blog tonight. If you look at the right side of the red toolbar you'll see a new Javascript feature that allows me to hide some clutter on the front page. That's where I'll keep categories and archives. And there's now a link to my Flickr stuff there too. Eventually I'll add a few more pages to the toolbar, like books I'm reading/music I'm listening to.

I'm pretty satisfied . . .

iPurchase Because iCare

Red is in. If you haven't noticed, there's a huge marketing campaign pushing the purchase of certain red objects in order to support the fight against AIDS in Africa. The most notable is the Apple's sale of the new Red iPod. Their website entices consumers noting, "You make choices every day, from the clothes you wear to the music you play. Now making a choice means making a difference." The purchase of one of these iPods yields $10 to the Global Aids fund. Many other "hip" companies are marketing similar "red" products in support of the cause.

You might think that this is a great idea- that these companies actually care about something other than making a profit. But, paint me red and call my cynical, it's just not true.

A recent study shows that Generation Y [or the Millennials, or whatever you want to call this emerging generation], expects these type of moves by the companies from which they purchase. The study concluded:

"An overwhelming 74% surveyed indicate they are more likely to pay attention to a company's overall messages when they see that the company has a deep commitment to a cause. Nearly nine out of ten Millennials surveyed, ages 13-25, stated that they are likely or very likely to switch from one brand to another (price and quality being equal) if the second brand is associated with a good cause."

In short, if you claim that your product donates some profit to a worthy cause, then young hipsters will run to buy it.

This brings about an interesting paradigm shift in marketing. Even though we're still in the midst of a consumer-driven society where your purchases define who you are, people are starting to realize that there's something more to life than serving self. There are people in the world who are in desperate need, which leaves us feeling guilty for buying things. Therefore, if you can tell us that our purchases make the world a better place then not only don't we feel bad, but we're actually being productive.

Hence [I should copyright this]: iPurchase Because iCare.

Do you see how demented this is? It's a "have your cake and eat it too and while you're at it, eat that starving kids piece of cake" mentality. And numerous companies are already starting to use this fact to woo shoppers.

Example 1: Last month I saw a commercial for Macy's with Susan Sarandon telling about a unique sale the story was having. On a given weekend, the store was donating a certain percentage of their profits to a cancer fund. She encouraged us to "make a purchase to save a life." Well, your husband was in Shawshank Redemption and you were in Thelma and Louise, so if you say so . . .

Example 2: Last week, on my off day with Kaelyn, I was watching TV and caught a glimpse of the Rachel Ray show [had to watch a couple of minutes because this chick is being called the Oprah of Generation Y]. She was telling the audience that they should pay $100+ dollars for a pair of jeans so they could help fight breast cancer. Selfless. You gotta believe that no more than $5 per pair would go the foundation. So if you're that passionate why not pay $30 for a cheap pair of jeans and give the rest to the charity. Or get even more pious and keep wearing your old jeans and give the whole enchilada to the cause?

I'm not overtly idealistic here; I'm not advocating that we all need to adopt a ascetic lifestyle. But let's be realistic here: we're being duped by these companies into believing that they care. The M.O. of for-profit companies is to turn a profit. And if they can do so by getting you to believe that you're making the world a better place by purchasing their product, they'll do it in a heartbeat. "I'd like to teach the world to sing . . . "

Don't get me wrong: I'm a Mac guy. I love using Apple products. But I just won't buy [pun intended] their whole "we care about the world" schtick. This trend signals that we're entering into a new stage of marketing: the "we're more pious than our competitors stage." It should be interesting to see where this takes us.

So red isn't really what's in. It's still green.