So .. you wanna be in advertising

Steven | marketing, advertising & campaigns | Monday, 28 July 2008

Watch this!

Neat tinyurl integration

Steven | Random Thoughts,twitter | Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The promise of tinyurl is simple: Making long URLs usable! And so they do. And with them lot’s of other similar services:, snurl,, .. The idea is to keep the domain name as short as possible, than add a little hash at the end, and if a user hits that link the browser will redirect him to the page with the slightly longer url.

So, will redirect for example to, an small improvement indeed. The real beauty kicks in with very long parameterized links, like this Google Maps link. On that service it would become: That’s 16 chars instead of 176. Impressive.

The principle is easy. They just keep a database with all these long urls, generate a code/hash at the same time, and match them. As soon as someone hits that code, they do a lookup, and redirect the user to the url that correspondents. The shorter the code, the shorter the url in total. With the 3 chars of you can make (26+26+10)*(26+26+10)*(26+26+10) = 62*62*62 = 238.328 combinations. 26 alphabetic chars lowercase, 26 uppercase and 10 numbers (might even contain special chars as well, dashes and underscores for example). So as soon they go over that number (not very long from now) they’ll probably add an extra char, providing space to 62*62*62*62 = 14.776.336 (almost 15 million) combinations.

So why would you want to use such a service, space is cheap, right? Well, not always. Think of twitter. You can only use140 characters to send your message. If you want to share a 200 chars url, you simply can’t do it.
No wonder the tinyurl-like services are widely used in these twitter-esque environments. It even is integrated in twitter for real. If you enter an url over xx chars, it will create an tinyurl (using from your link and displays it like that in your tweets.
Tools like twhirl (highly recommended) integrate a similar service: you can choose from a number of providers, and shorten your url on the spot, saving precious char space.

An other use of this url shortening services is to hide the source to what you’re linking. So you can trick someone in or Rick Roll your victim. Worse: spam, mallware, .. You get the picture.
So I always had a double feeling about this. I like it on the on hand, saves you space. On the other hand, my judgement wether to click a link or not, is partly made by the link itself (is it a video, an image, a blog post, ..). Thin Slicing so to speak. I kind of automatically scan the status bar when I hoover a link. So, although I like it, I want to control it. Twitter doing it automatically is not me in control. Choosing to shorten the link is.

Yesterday we found out Twitter acquired Summize. Summize being a Twitter search engine, a very good on, so this indeed is a perfect match. They already merged the service in

I was checking it out, and discovered a very fancy and neat tinyurl integration in the search results, as you can see below.


tinyurl expanded

This is so natural and logic! It totally solves my problem.

redirect headerIt’s actually quite easy. This redirect is done with a HTTP header, resulting in a 301 (moved permanently) status, forcing the browser to get it’s request elsewhere.

On (and probably before on Summize, but I never noticed) they created a script that when you feed it a tinyurl (or other service) it just returns the original url. Like you can see in this example. The script is called hugeurl :-)
So behind the scenes the script is doing a call to that tinyurl page, fetching the location header (in any) and just displays the result in the output.

I can only hope this is going to be implemented in twitter, and in twitter clients as Twhirl as well. So yes, this is an official feature request: make my day :-)

What would you do if you were the CEO of Seesmic?

Steven | Random Thoughts,twitter | Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Loïc Le Meur That’s the question, Loïc Le Meur asked literally to the community last night. He IS the CEO of Seesmic, a video interaction platform that does kick ass. By asking this question via Seesmic and twitter and friendfeed as well, he hoped gathering interested insights about where he could head with his lovely startup.

And sure did he get reaction. Just read his post, and be amazed by the amount (and quality) of it.

Way to go!

Seesmic on Crunchbase


Update (July 16 – 9 am): got en email from Joan Lockwood. She’s Marketing and PR director of Seesmic. She’s thanking me for this post and includes a recent picture of Loïc. Offering me a t-shirt as well.
Nice work, this is what in my mind new PR ought to be!

Make your iphone worth the money

Steven | marketing, advertising & campaigns | Monday, 14 July 2008

ipone 3GNot that I’m suggesting it’s a worthless piece of shit. I must admit it’s quite nice actually. Not that sophisticated as my Nokia N95 though, but it looks good, smells good, feels good. Marketing. Lovebrand. Yeah irrational love. Must have .. *slap*

Well, you can’t use QIK on an iphone, nah! Yet, crap.

But the $199 is a laugh here in Belgium. They go for sale from €525 here in Belgium. That’s about $830, or 4 times as expensive as announced. Sure, no simlock, but hell gimme simplock please and I’ll buy myself some freedom with the $630 that’s left.

Anyway, whatever you paid, you can win a trip to Minneapolis if you got one (or an ipod touch will do as well). Simply use your device to surf to It’s a neat little game that uses the motion sensors, and you can throw AXES!

The game is developed to celebrate the 1th anniversary of Hello Viking, a so called advertising entity.

You can read more about this at this page, or on their blog.

I think it’s excellent. Time to market rules. Brilliant use of the motion sensors, yet simple. Nice graphics. Cool price. Advergaming to the next level. This will definitely put Hello Viking on the map.

Hat tip: Marketing Profs Daily Fix.

Update 17u50, just saw an email from Cain Ransbottyn. They got an early iphone and decided to blend it :-) (I just don’t like the bag being involved)

Speaking of, the Will It Blend platform is absolutely the most brilliant advertising out there. Yes they sell stuff, guess what? :-)
Here’s the WIB version of the iphone 3G.

More books

Steven | marketing, advertising & campaigns,Random Thoughts | Sunday, 06 July 2008

Not last week, but the week before, I was on holiday. I enjoyed the beautiful Provence in France, and while we were there I had time to read some books. And so I did. I finished 5, which I’m going to review here.

  1. "Join the Conversation" by Joseph Jaffe
  2. "Motorworld" by Jeremy Clarkson
  3. "Once you’re lucky, twice you’re good" by Sarah Lacy
  4. "My Organisation is a Jungle" by Jef Staes
  5. "The exceptional presenter" by Timothy J. Koegel


What $7 can buy you

Steven | marketing, advertising & campaigns | Friday, 04 July 2008

Well, it bought me context. At least the word "context" in the Big Word Project.


But it bought me more than that.

When I got the word and blogged about it I had contact with one of the masterminds behind the project: Paddy Donnelly (aka the viral guy). I told him if he was ever in Belgium he should call me and we could meet for a drink. Since a Irish guy never refuses any drinks, and he happens to be in Belgium we met Wednesday and had a couple of Duvels.

Actually Paddy and his pal are going to the Werchter festival the following days, so that’s part of the reason they are here. The other was he’s crossing Europe to meet people who bought words (or Wordee’s as he calls it). Doing a little interview about the word, having a chat .. I had an excellent time Wednesday night. I dropped the guys at the only (private) camping open the night for the festival, and got to know they survived the day after :)

I even got my $7 back back since Paddy paid the drinks. Money well spend :)