Wasting Marketing Efforts with Sweepstakes People Do Not Enter for Products They will buy anyway

So the title of this article pretty much sums up the article, but I'll repeat the premise a bit.  I am continually annoyed with sweepstakes offers thrown in with products that I WILL buy regardless of whether there is a sweepstakes or not.

I see this most often with Coke, specifically Coke Zero.  I drink coke all day long.  I'm a coke addict.  I don't play their sweepstakes.  Its a waist of time, and even if I win, the prize is still a waist of time.


But what it does do is give them my name and email address and marketing information (like they need it).  WTF?  I've been drinking coke for decades, do you really need to add my name and email address to your databases yet again?

Now, I might understand (but not buy) if the sweepstakes offered me a free trip to say the Playboy bunny ranch if I bought some men's jewelry.  I don't buy nor wear jewelry, but I might be tempted for the right(wrong) contest.  But tempting me to do something I am already going to do, what's the point?

Similar issue, I bought some AAA batteries the other day.  Duracell this time (I go back and forth between duracell and energizer and price is the only thing that makes a difference.)

This time around, they offer a Wii sweepstakes.  I don't need a Wii sweepstakes.  Its the damn Wii (and my wireless mouse) that eat all the AAA batteries in the first place!


If I add another Wii to the household, I'll use twice as many batteries.

AHA! I see the evil in their marketing plan now . . .


Just look at all this information they want.  I need a Duracell account like I need a hole in the head.


Follow Up - Is Time Warner Slowing Down My Internet Connection? Doesn't Look Good

So I did a little more digging into what seemed like a possible slow down of my broadband speeds.

Here's what I determined:

When I first started downloading files, I downloaded 4 files simultaneously.  Each file was pulled in at a rate of about 300 kbs.  That's a total of about 1.2 mbs on a system that is normally capable of pulling in 3 - 10 mbs.

As the files finished the download rate picked up a bit from 300 kbs to 311 kbs after the first file, then to 350 kbs for the second file, then 400 kbs for the third file.  As the fourth and largest file (2.5 gb) reached the 80% done stage it also jumped from 400 to 500 and then to 700 kbs.

So those slight jumps in speed seemed to indicate the server on the sending side gaining resources to send more faster.

But a jump of 20 or even 400 kbs didn't account for the drop off of speed of 2 - 9 mbs!

As things were downloading I performed the following speed tests in the order presented:




Then after all the files were done, I did one more test and my speeds were back up in the 5.5 mbs range.


My conclusion is that when there is some type of load placed on my broadband line, there must be something that starts slowing things down, rationing out the supply.  This is not a scientific conclusion, but more of a gut feel, which I hope to get more information on when and where I can.  I'm hoping to test the methodology with other sending servers in the future as well to get more perspective on just how fast Time Warner Cable might be 'when I need it' as opposed to how fast it is on a test.

I do not want a broadband service that tests well and performs poorly.  I want a service that performs well.

I run a small business and if I am to capitalize each small business opportunity that comes up, then I need reliable tools, partners and services.

Is Time Warner Cable Slowing Down My Internet Connection?

This evening I purchased a software program called Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate.  It cost me about $100 and if I download it, I do not have to pay for the CD's and shipping and boxes and junk, which will save me another $40-$50.

The thing is the download is about 5 gigabytes total.  While I was downloading on my Time Warner Internet connection, I noticed that about 10 minutes into the download, the speed seemed to slow to a trickle.  The download program showed that my download speed was coming in at about 300 kbs.

This is on a connection that is supposed to yield me 3 - 10 megabytes per second.

Now one obvious possibility is that the Pinnacle server sending me the files is a little slow.  That could be the case, and I just can't tell.

However, with all the talk about broadband companies putting the brakes on speed, I was curious whether or not Time Warner might have interpreted my download activity as a movie download or something and proceeded to put the brakes on me.

I ran a speed test while the download was taking place and it showed that instead of the normal minimum 3 mbs, I was only getting about 1.5 mbs.


As I write this article, I am now waiting to test the speed connection again once the download has finished and possibly after some time has passed so that I can see when or if things speed back up.  I'll share the results of that finding in a quick follow up article in the next day or so.

If you have run into similar problems or if you have some possible other perspectives on what may have slowed down a normally fast connection, drop me a comment and I will expand the troubleshooting more if I can.

Mostly, I just want the fastest most reliable connection I can get.  I don't want an anemic connection that makes my computer suspect I'm feeding it diet pills.  I want the seven course dinner full of butter and fat and everything that goes with it to stuff my pipes and keep my computer working as hard as possible.  So if Time Warner can't provide this, I may have to continue searching for someone that can.  (I've already had to drop Bellsouth/At&T because they didn't come close to making the grade.)

Kevin Johnson of Microsoft on How and Why Yahoo! blew it for Stockholders and Customers

By most accounts the weekend after, Yahoo! blew a deal with Microsoft in order to prepare to lose a deal with Google, Yahoo!'s death knolls or tolling.

The end may not be this year or next, but given their inability to do business when and where they needed to and their penchant for doing business where they absolutely do not need to, they will soon be another internet company footnote like the implosion of AOL.  They will no longer provide search, search advertising, or internet advertising.  They've dropped out of bill payment services and are losing chat ground to other companies.  Soon they will only be good for brand recognition, which might when them some deals with their logo on micro sd cards, but little else.

Here are Kevin Johnson's comments and perspective on the deal and situation that Yahoo! lost on...

During the last few weeks, we spent a considerable amount of time with Yahoo! discussing an alternative proposal around search. Specifically, this search proposal had three components:

• Microsoft would have invested $8 billion in Yahoo! at $35/share;
• Microsoft would have purchased Yahoo!'s search assets for $1 billion, and assumed the operations and R&D expense while returning data back to Yahoo! for use in their advertising business; and
• Microsoft and Yahoo! would have entered into a long-term search partnership, where Microsoft would have provided favorable economics to Yahoo! search, including a three-year guarantee of higher monetization than Yahoo!'s Panama paid search system currently provides.

This partnership would have created a stronger competitor to Google, providing greater choice and innovation for advertisers, publishers and consumers. This approach could have been implemented quickly and would have simplified the integration process for both parties. It would have also established the basis for a long-term Internet partnership between Yahoo! and Microsoft.

We believe this proposal would have created compelling value for Yahoo! and its shareholders in at least three ways:

• New Transfer of Cash to Yahoo! Shareholders. This proposal would have transferred $9 billion from Microsoft to Yahoo!, which could have been used by Yahoo! to reward their shareholders.
• A More Profitable Ongoing Business. This proposal would have resulted in higher operating income on an annual basis for Yahoo!, with our projections more than doubling Yahoo!'s operating income in the first year of operation, and increasing it by more than $1 billion above its current operating income level.
• A More Compelling Search Offering. The combination of the search platforms would have unlocked new R&D innovation, eliminated redundant engineering efforts and allowed for greater scale in serving our customers.

Taken together, we believe that our proposal would have created total value for Yahoo!'s shareholders in excess of $33 per share.

Unfortunately Yahoo! has chosen a different course, and yesterday announced an agreement that would start to consolidate over 90% of the paid search advertising market in Google's hands. This will make the market far less competitive. There are many experts who suggest that a host of legal and regulatory problems lie ahead for Google and Yahoo!.

Yah-Poo! Pride Cometh Before the Fall


Yahoo's chief executive officer, proved this week that he is an apt to continue leading the once great Internet giant Yahoo!.   His pride came long before the better interests of his company and his customers as he bent over backwards to block Microsoft from becoming a partner. 

To ultimately account which this goal he had to do a deal with a double and partner up with  Google, which formerly ran Yahoo out of the search engine industry years back and now is preparing to run Yahoo out of Internet advertising as well. 

Before Google is done with Yahoo there'll be nothing left of the company in Yahoo's shareholders will not even have sold the company to anyone.  Jerry Yang is essentially giving the company a way for nothing all in an effort to foil a deal with Microsoft.

Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang's five-month conflict with Microsoft Corp. ended yesterday. The outcome may not be good for him or the Internet company's investors.

Yahoo said yesterday it scrapped talks after Microsoft refused to pay the $47.5 billion it offered last month. Instead Yang unveiled a partnership with Google Inc. While that deal may add $800 million to annual sales, it may not be enough to push the stock above $30, Canaccord Adams's Colin Gillis said.

``When Microsoft walked, it was a real walk,'' Gillis said. The New York-based analyst recommends selling Yahoo shares. ``This deal has the perception of damaged goods.''

The Google accord may make Yang more vulnerable in a proxy fight against billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who says Yang botched the Microsoft negotiations. Even if shareholders opt to replace the company's directors with Icahn's candidates, Microsoft is no longer showing an interest in buying Yahoo, owner of the second most popular online search engine.

Bloomberg.com: Exclusive


It is absolutely no wonder that analysts and stockholders alike are starting to bail out of Yahoo as they realize that there is ultimately going to be no hope for this company.  If you haven't gotten out of Yahoo yet, now is the time to cash in and cut your losses as they are.  If you are a customer of Yahoo, it's probably time to try and find some alternate service solutions as their service offerings have been getting substantially worse over the last year and now promised to do more of the same.  Jerry Yang seems to be following a business model paid out by AOL in which you cannibalize a company ultimately sell it for nothing with little rationale other than saving your pride until you're pushed out of office at which point in time you perform a big balance transfer to your retirement plan and hope to avoid any congressional inquiries.

More than Half Sold on NexAira 3G WiFi Router & My Review is not even Complete Yet!

So for a couple weeks now I have been reviewing the use of a 3G WiFi mobile router. Those words name the device but they are a bit of a mouthful. This is essentially a Wireless Router that connects to the internet via a cellular air card sets up the wireless network which multiple computers can then connect to wirelessly.

Whew, told you it was a mouthful, but it is also very useful so its worth the explanation.

Now, as I mentioned I have been reviewing this device for a couple weeks now, writing a number of short articles as I go through the various stages of my review.

Now I try and keep unbiased when I review a product, but half way through the review, I have to say that I am about sold on this product. It does what it claims to do and does it well.

I haven't had the success with my TiVo yet, but that has been more of an issue finding the right TiVo adapter (I have one in a mini storage unit, but haven't been able to find it in the boxes and my two attempts to purchase a new adapter from Amazon, yielded the wrong type of adapter.)

That said, it works great for establishing a WiFi network. This has been invaluable when both my cable internet and DSL internet connections went down at my house during a storm a week back. My Aircard and WiFi 3G router still worked and I was still in business. It has also been very useful for some of the mobile blogging activities that I engage in regularly.

I suspect that for small companies that send small teams of 2 - 5 people into the field together, this could also help to save companies the expense of having to purchase multiple air cards and accounts. Using 1 air card and saving on the purchase of 4 others could save a company $240 a month, easily paying for the NexAira 3G mobile router in the first month alone.

Even better a friend of mine bought the 3G router and the Wireless extender from Powerful Signal and had some excellent insight into the situations for using the devices together when working from a remote cabin in the mountains of North Carolina.

Here are some of the videos that accompany My reviews

Updating TiVo w NexAirA 3G Router

This is a concept that I am still working through. I actually ordered a usb to ethernet converter for $8 from Amazon today so that I can prove the concept out one way or the other. This video walks through the concept. Once I have the adapter, I'll let you know how it works out.

USB to Ethernet Converter on Amazon


Establishing WiFi networks at Hotels and Conferences
Something else that I intend to test on my next trip will be the establishment of a WiFi hotspot when I attend my next conference or stay in a hotel that doesn't have WiFi access (for free). Some cheap hotels charge an arm and a leg for WiFi access and when you are working with a group of people this 3G router could become very handy and very economical for the group.

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The Back of the NexAirA Router

Here is the back of the NexAira 3G Wireless Router (it connects via a cellular wireless card, and then creates a WiFi hotspot that you can connect multiple computers). Its a pretty impressive device and next to buying more ram to make your computer run smoother, if you are a mobile professional that does a lot of work with groups of people, on a regular basis this could be a very very handy too.

The trick is to figure out when all those situations might be where you need a WiFi router but you do not have access to DSL, Cable or ethernet for more than one person.

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Where to Get NexAirA Router

A Person at Utterz missed my early statement or link about where I found this gem of a device, the 3G Wireless Router. So I reiterated that I found it at PowerfulSignal.com.

That said, I'm still testing the device and while my initial results have all been very positive, I need more time to test the following items before I'll give an endorsement and encourage people to spend a little money out of their savings account to become even more mobile.

What I have not had a chance to test is the following items:

  1. How far from the router can I get a WiFi signal on my computer
  2. How many computers (laptops) can connect successfully at the same time
  3. How does the device work when powered through a DC inverter (ergo I plug in a DC inverter into a cigarette lighter on a car or boat, then plug the router into the inverter and start blogging or something)

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Powering WiFi Router with Air Card

Here is the Verizon Wireless Air Card that I use. I do not necessarily endorse Verizon Wireless at all. (With my cell phone, a treo 700, they are bane of my existence.) This is just what I have for anyone curious or paying attention to how I use some of my equipment for my various mobile endeavors.

Due to my actual cell phone related experiences with Verizon, I'd just as soon use some other carrier, but in all fairness their air card service seems to work better and be more reliable than their actual cell phone service. Somedays I feel like I am paying Verizon Audemars Piguet watch rates so that I can get a Timex level of service.

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Powering WiFi Router with Air Card


I have been working on testing and finding some good uses for a 3G Connected WiFi Router from NexAira that I received from Powerful Signal.

I'm going through several aspects of my initial tests with the product here at MavenMappers and expect to find some libertating uses for this technology this summer. I've also had several conversations about the product over at Utterz a few people have already purchased their own 3G WiFi Router.

Here is a quick glimpse at the download upload speeds that I received with 2 bars of signal on my mobile router. As I understand things, your aircard speed are going to be limited according to the strength of the signal.

For what its worth the company that I received this router from PowerfulSignal.com also sells signal boosters in addition to these cellular routers, which can be used in conjunction with your cell phone or air cards. So if you are in the mountains and your cell signal is very week, you might also benefit from a cell phone signal booster. (I believe that will help you push out signal/data to a cell phone tower.) Usually they transmit at plenty of signal to reach you, its more an issue of whether you can talk back to them to establish '2way' communication.

Here's the home page for the company


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Tackling To-Do Lists

It has been a while since I rand down my history with MindManager. I was conversing on the topic on Utterz, a great social network and thought I'd share this response below here.

MindManager can be very addictive. I started using it back in 2005. After downloading the trial, (I missed the section where they have the video tutorials) but after about 20 minutes I had taught myself how to use the software and 10 minutes later had brainstormed and drafted a business plan with Mind Manager.

I later went on to use it extensively in everything from process diagrams, to drafting policies, procedures, training materials and more.

Then as I became more involved with contract negotiations and partnership relations management, I started to use it to map out contracts, their negotiations ant tie that into our systems and databases so that the systems would mirror the agreement and we could gather data to later pinpoint the aspects of contracts that might need more emphasis during future renegotiations.

I also happen to be a MindManager trainer and blog about it a bit. ;)

BTW the PC version is 10 times more powerful than the Mac version. This is pretty much a made for PC type of software, mostly because it is interoperable with most Office programs.

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MindManager for me is one of the best things to empower my brain to do more that I have ever come across, with Dragon Naturally Speaking coming in a close second. For me the visualization of concepts just helps me operate and think faster like a massage therapist helps your muscles relax better. I've been to mindmapping school and it helped even more, just like a therapist would attend massage therapy schools. It just helps!


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