Saturday, May 06, 2006

Prank Calls Sell

Okay- so this is a little embarassing but interesting. The prank calls earlier this week seemed to have been more popular than I'd imagined... holding 4 out of the top 4 most watched videos. Maybe I've found my little niche. Except I'm running out of voices and targets.

Friday, May 05, 2006

We Hand Write Our Business Cards Too

So my wife read my blog for the first time because her photos were up. She corrected me on the Revver signs in Revver HQ. Indeed they were not printed on Ink Jets, but hand written with Sharpie markers. Here's a photo of Rob after he drew them.

Revver Can Be Only One... Which Is It?

This is my wife pictured this week with Revver's Responsive Rob (RRR) who works 80 hours a week and they pay him in shiny beads and Red Bull. The rest of this post is about the online video business and Revver's model, so skip it if you just like funny videos.
Here's the question for those of us watching Revver and other online video models (YouTube, Google Video, LiveDigital,, and even MotionTV when allowed). The Discipline of Market Leaders contends that a strong company chooses one (not more) of the following strategies:
1) Product Leadership: Focused on innovation and performance, product leaders strive to turn invention into breakthrough products (think Apple).
2) Customer Intimacy: Focused on specialized, personal service, these companies become partners with their customers (think Neiman Marcus).
3) Operational Excellence: Companies with the operational excellence model offer customers the lowest possible cost of a product. These companies focus on their supply and distribution systems, in order to reduce costs to the customer (think Walmart).
So which one is Revver? Although Revver is good to its loyalists, I'm ruling out number two because it's not as critical at this phase of the online video revolution. I would suggest product leadership, but I'm not seeing anything magical about Revver that couldn't be leapfrogged. So I'm putting my money on the third. An efficient conduit between creators, advertisers and site owners. Revver is the only player that provides cash to creators. The other models give free hosting, points, and some serious traffic. MotionTV and DaveTV seem to be going down a Revver-like path but aren't as far along. And timing is everything.
The Discipline of Market Leaders is sometimes criticized as oversimplifying business strategy. But it does force discussions on focus.
What do you think? Product Leadership, Customer Intimacy or Operational Excellence? No hedging by picking two.

Our Roving Reporter Sneaks an Inside Look at Revver

So my wife's back from Hollywood. Nothing she did there struck me as terribly interesting except for her visit to Revver. Here's what we learned from that visit. 1) Revver has groove. The people were really cool to her.
2) Revver has no tchotchke. This was a huge dissappointment for me. Hopefully we'll soon have the ability to convert our revtag revenue into Revver toys. It will be like when my wife worked at the Gap one Christmas, and her entire paycheck (and more) went back to the Gap for merchandise.
3) Revver is cheap. That's actually good news I think. Sparse offices, no Web 1.0 eccentricities like exposed brick, expensive chairs and dog daycare services. Most of the folks involved in Revver have been through the bubble burst and know they'd rather be part of a successfull startup even if the sign on the wall was printed on an inkjet someone bought on eBay for $19.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

YouTube's User Rebellion

Well now I know why the YouTube PR lady that I pranked hasn't called me back. Per my earlier posts about "fly to close to the sun and your wings will be burned..."
This areticle, titled "YouTube sees user rebellion" was writted by Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 Magazine online editor and Oliver Ryan, Fortune reporter. Here are the highlights:

Hypergrowth comes with hyper-growing pains -- just ask YouTube. The online video-sharing site is facing a rebellion among the formerly faithful. Yesterday, blogger and longtime YouTuber Miel Vanopstal lost his cool in a post titled "Screw YouTube." Vanopstal complains that YouTube's recent upgrades have made the site significantly slower, and that new efforts to enforce copyright and delete otherwise questionable material strike him as arbitrary. He is particularly galled that a single alert notice from a "puritanically minded" fellow user can result in a video being deleted. "I've had it with these random rejections," he writes.

Vanopstal is hardly alone. A bitter Nathan Weinberg at InsideGoogle says that he was kicked off YouTube two months ago. Weinberg chronicles his dissatisfaction with the free (and reportedly money-losing) service, ultimately deciding that he has only one thing left to do: "Ruin YouTube" by systematically reporting all of the site's traffic-generating but copyright-violating videos. Microsoft's (Research) Don Dodge, who formerly worked at Napster (Research), adds a been there, done that post to the fray, noting sagely: "User-generated content is very difficult to manage and control."

My Wife on American Idol

My wife and I are debating who's more famous these days. I've got a blog and some viral videos seen by more people than could fit into our kitchen at one time. But she took a brief cameo on American Idol. We'd welcome any posts that can settle the debate.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Using Revver to Explain To Your Wife Why Your Son Went to the ER While Under Your "Care"

Some of the recent ExpertVillage posts to Revver have annoyed me so much that I decided I'd go ahead and record a video targeted at one person. My wife.

Situation: I needed to explain to her why my son had four stitches on his lip today while under my loving care/ If you're keeping records, I was in the ER a few weeks ago, and my other two sons have been in for a playground injury and a table wipe out. This one was for not wearing a seat belt. On Tuesday the school distributed a flier on the importance of seat belts. It felt real nice calling the school to say Patrick wouldn't be in school today because he flew out his seat and changed the radio station with his front lip.

Prank Call to Revver CEO

So last night I tried out my worst Irish/Australian/English accent by prank calling Revver's CEO on his cell (don't ask how I get these numbers). I once played the role of Fagin in Oliver, and this was pretty much the same crappy accent I used then. I did, however, weave in some nice Australian slang that only Wally will appreciate if he's still reading. The slang is courtesy of Wikipedia, and was mostly words starting with the first half of the alphabet because I spilled beer on myself and decided that overpreparing for a prank call would blow it.

Obviously the prank fell apart pretty quick. You can prank a flack, but a CEO is a little more difficult.

The Washington Post Stole My Idea

Great Bloggers follow at least 4 commandments. Commandments one and two are using catchy headlines and writing with giant egos. I, of course, am a humble guy born in New Orleans. But if I may... The Washington Post clearly read my recent post containing public-relations advice for Revver. The Post, in another article about YouTube, "lead" with a YouTube video poster who is an amateur political commentator. My point was that company stories don't sell as well as human interest ones. To be fair, I learned that from my first editor, Warren Rogers, who was a reporter for The Washington Post, where he covered Kennedy. If Rogers was alive today, I'd be receiving printed copies of each blog post in the mail, each containing dense edits in a light blue pen. Since The Post taught Rogers who taught me who taught the Post again... all's fair.

Great Bloggers also make up words- that's commandment 4. So here's mine for today. "Regisized." That's when you get over-hyped in the media like Regis was during the 10 minutes people cared about "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

Friends, YouTube is getting Regisized now. I propose the YouTube public relations lady knows that's her risk because she's declining interviews and she certainly didn't return my calls after my recent prank call. Fly too high and your wings melt. Oh- 35 people have viewed the YouTube prank call on Revver, but only 10 on YouTube. That's highly suspicious. Can I accuse them of burying the video?

Oh yeah. Conspiracy theories. That's commandment 4.

Hallucinations Without Side Effects

When I was little, my mom kept a clown painting in the hallway. We were all terrified of it, but it stayed. I think it was her way of reminding us to stay in line. Thanks for the childhood flashbacks, Marqui. I'll share this with my kids.

Revver Gets Hacked: 12,107 Home Videos Now Public

For Immediate Release: May 3, 2006. Revver, Inc. today announced that in unusual breach of security, hackers found a "back door" that has made its 12,107 videos -- mostly amateur and home videos -- now available to anyone with Internet access. The videos can be seen at

Now that would make a nice press release. Most journalists wouldn't bother investigating the fact that the 12,107 videos (or 9,667- but who's counting?) were intended for public distribution.

This was inspired, of course, by recent news of a hacking of the Department of Defense. Feeling secure? Here are the highlights:

The Department of Defense on Friday announced that hackers have accessed the Pentagon's health insurance information systems, which include the personal data of more than 14,000 people, Government Executive reports.

The DOD discovered the intrusion of the TRICARE Management Activity public computer servers on April 5, but it is unclear when it took place. The department delayed releasing the information for more than four weeks because it needed time to determine the extent of the intrusion, according to a department official.

Can't Post to Revver

Anyone else having trouble?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Wired News: Ultimate Guide to Online Video

Ultimate is a bit of an overpromise, but here's Wired's nice roundup of some video sites. I'm surprised that it gets into niche sites but misses some big ones. Still, anybody that wants to bring cool new video sites to our attention gets an "E" for effort.

YouTube Prank Call

Well- folks seemed to like yesterday's Revver prank call (and it's surprisingly and editor's pick). Now let's see how good of a sense of humor the YouTube folks have. It took some serious dialing-for-dollars to finally find a phone number for YouTube- they're not listed anywhere. What I didn't know is that the number I got was the head of public relation's cell phone. So I've destroyed that number!

Anyway... what happens when you put a dumb Southern guy on the phone with a web 2.0 company's media handler? Listen to find out- Julie handles it pretty well despite her best efforts to get me off the phone. And to be clear- I'm allowed to make fun of Southerners because I'm from the South.

Quicktime "Workaround"

Revver knows Quicktime is not the leading video service, and hopefully they'll find a way to maintain the integrity of RevTags using more popular formats like Flash. Many of us can't use Quicktime at work. So here's a cool tool we'd like to see. A software that converts Quicktime (real time) to Flash! Of course the ads wouldn't likely stick.

The Future of Online Videos and Advertising (ClickZ)

This is a really nice article on by author Zachary Rodgers. Beware of clicking into the article because it's nearly impossible to shake some really invasive ads for Pointroll.

The article wrestles with some of the key issues of videos & advertising.

Bad news for Revver and similar models:
"The video syndication players also rely on the assumption consumers will eventually expect to find video online pretty much everywhere they go. That's not yet proven. When they want video, most Internet users go to YouTube, iTunes, MSN Video or AtomFilms. They don't surf to their favorite blog and hit refresh."

The good news for Revver and similar models:
According to Jupiter Analyst Emily Riley, "Web sites are definitely still in a situation where you need a service provider [to enable your video channel], unless you're talking about a very media friendly site that's wiling to invest in their own group within the company."

Ones to Watch:

Here are some thoughts x provides on emerging players. These are direct quotes.
1) Among the emergent video syndication companies, Brightcove has by far the highest profile. Founded by Jeremy Allaire, the company has already partnered with content creators like The New York Times, and Publicis digital media consultancy Denuo is an investor.
2) Mochila launched last week with several print media partners, including Working Mother and Hachette Filipacchi Media. Content owners store video in Mochila's system and name its price. Once affiliates sign on, advertisers can associate themselves with the specific content, or place a buy with the whole network. Mochila's video offering will appear this summer, according to CEO Keith McAllister.
3) A dark horse is The Fifth Network, which now operates a small video ad network but says it will soon launch a media player that Web site owners can use to carry its syndicated content and ads. "Throughout the player will exist creative from the site it's on, as well as like content from other sites in our network and our other publisher partners," said Bradley Werner, VP of marketing at The Fifth Network. "A lot of sites want to provide more reach. They know their users are interested in like content. We're making sure all our publishers meet steady quality criteria for their content."

So here's the billion-dollar questions. How will advetisers and their agencies select where to put their dollars? Will they screen sites? Absolutely? Can they screen videos? No way- too many. So there's a risk of associating an ad with a video that isn't kind. To put it another way, "The alternative is to forfeit all the tweaking and tuning and instead buy a large number of impressions on a blind network."

Google Earth Privacy Invasion?

So I'm in the driveway yesterday and I'm thinking about Google Earth. Wondering if it's taking pictures of me and my kids. Think about it: a global satelite with incredible image resolution. Floating right over our heads. How soon before topless sunbathers are immortalized? When will it catch me peeing in the backyard?

These thoughts inspire the video below. I have to credit Emmy, who was kind enough to hold the camera on a long pole on the condition that she was on the other side of the fence and didn't have to look at my plumber's butt.

Warning: In this video, I've stooped to a new low... literally. I just sent it to my Google contact and she thought it was "hysterical." However my wife is going to be revolted. But I'm taking advantage of the fact that she doesn't have access to a computer while she's in LA.

I ask you, Revverberation community.. what's worse- my butt crack or MarquisdeJolie (coincidentally) putting a video of his man boobs "out there" for our world and beyond?

Monday, May 01, 2006

My Prank Call to Revver

It's 70 degrees and beautiful today, and I'm inside making prank phone calls and checking e-mail. I need a life.

Like a Pringle. Just try to watch this only once...

Smash the Computer

Before you call them sophomoric, see how cathartic it feels watching it. I think I may need to sponsor a CubeBreak contest to see who can destroy a computer in the most interesting way.

Practical Joke Video

I'm surprised we aren't seeing more practical jokes like this one. I think one could develop a whole niche on office pranks. I'd do it but my boss keeps telling me to leave the camera at home.

Who is the Revver Mime?

Well it's not me or James Jarvis, because neither of us could fit into that blue suit. And for obvious reasons we can tell it's not DWestlake.

So who is it?

Naked Celebrities

So here's an interesting strategy for generating traffic to your site. Put a half naked woman on Revver with the site's logo covering her breasts. I wonder if she'll do a CubeBreak promo. We'll send her the transparent version of our logo.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Live Digital SpitCam Contest

Wow. I had to pull my entry to the LiveDigital "SpitCam" contest after some pretty frighteningly hostile comments from the gangstas at LiveDigital- they either loved it or hated it, actually, and usually the latter. Here are some highlights from the 100 plus views and more than 30 comments below (1 in 3 commented, which is fascinating). It's worth noting that I racked up a bunch of "points" on LiveDigital, but I'm not sure what they're worth. Can I trade them for a Revver hat?

Note- Comments are Not Exactly PG-13, although I've trimmed out some words... after all we're a family blog here:
oookeee,, lol
is this guy a retard or wat =S
i feel so disrespected ;[ LoL tha kids are adorable tho =D
hahahahahahahahahahahahaha your a dumbass
You've got to be kidding me.
lol lol
lol lol lol that was funny i dont care lol lol
dude wtf?? not cool ay u really just made a f out of yourself all over the net by doing that. Even your kids are thinking "wtf is he doing" and so am i
ur wife swallows tho...
I feel sorry for your kids. I hope you get divorced and your wife gets full custody and gets married to a rich rapper.
did he really just make this clip?
HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA. "Hit it Gram". "Ew, why did you do that? =(" "Umm, we can't see ourselves!"
... if ur gonna get ur kids taken away by social services... at LEAST be funny while doin it.. dumbass
the 1st one looked sick...seriously take this off, it was creative and funny for the 1st time
wow thats not funny
poor webcam
wtf is this shit that was the dummest thing ive ever seen...period
dis shyt is MF disgustin u old ass bytch niga u SICK how u gon dat type shyt infront ya kids man DON GOT nottin betta 2do go read a book 2 ya kids or suttin
great example for the kids
look at your daughter's face when you're spitting. She's disgusted. So am i...
I still cant believe this...Your kids are too cute to be caught in the middle of your insanity...This entry is unreal
those are explicit lyrics for children too budy. what a shame...
yo you can obviously tell you have no life......and disrespect ppl and your life is just pointless.....

MadV: The Masked Magician on Revver

Less than 2 weeks ago the mysterious "MadV" submitted 7 grainy videos with a masked man in a sweatshirt doing magic tricks. It's a terrific concept. Today he dominated all four frames of the "most watched" section.

I love it when someone finds a niche. Will we ever find out what this guy looks like? Is he in his parents room, a dorm, or appartment? How old is he? Does he do magic for a living or is this a little hobby? Check out the MadV's Skillz...

Copyrights and Rescricted Licenses

This is a funny parody of the issues surrounding copyrights. The analogy brings us to a bar, where a drunk asks for a light from Revver co-founder Ian Clark...

"I was in the pub last night, and a guy asked me for a light for his cigarette. I suddenly realised (sic) that there was a demand here and money to be made, and so I agreed to light his cigarette for 10 pence, but I didnt actually give him a light, I sold him a license to burn his cigarette. My fire license restricted him from giving the light to anybody else, after all, that fire was my property. He was drunk, and dismissing me as a loony, but accepted my fire (and by implication the licence which governed its use) anyway...."

(read more)

Viral Video Voting- Worst Practice

So I did my entry to the LiveDigital SPITCAM contest. Here's a note I just received from a Revverberation reader about it: "Omigosh! I just saw your spit cam entry! If you hear any cars rumble by your house, make sure everyone gets low to the floor just in case there’s a drive by." In retrospect I suppose the title of my entry should be "one of these things does not belong here."

Anyway, I was getting ready to send the video to solicit votes from the first 50 people in my Outlook contact database that came to mind. Just before I hit send, I realized that you can't vote without REGISTERING. I'm not putting people through that- it's like making them buy GirlScout cookies or Amway.

Forced registration seems like a good idea to the folks at LiveDigital. "We'll collect lots of names and make sure people aren't double voting." But it's a ridiculous barrier. I deleted the e-mail, meaning 50 people (who, admittedly, aren't exactly the target audience for the SpitCam contest) didn't learn about the site and contest, and if the average forward rate was 3 that's another 150.

Sure you don't want double voters. So cookie them. Use IP address. Can they manipulate these and get more votes? Sure- but who cares? If a lousy entrant wins because of voting manipulation it's better than creating a sky-high barrier like forced registration- which limits the contest's reach. If you're really paranoid make registration require just an e-mail address alone.