McConnell and Huba know fury of Consumer Generated Media
August 14, 2006
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
If you run a business,
citizen marketers can make you or break you. That's the view of
two Chicago authors who want business execs to understand the
power and peril of Internet-based Consumer Generated Media (CGM).
Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell say that Consumer Generated Media
and citizen marketers "affect businesses" -- as Dell
Computer and Paramount Pictures learned the hard way.
What are CGM? McConnell
says, "CGM is anything created by an amateur -- a blog post,
a podcast, an animation, a video -- that is posted on the Web
and spread by social media." Who are citizen marketers? Huba
says, "Citizen marketers are individuals who create CGM on
behalf of brands, people, products or organizations."
In their upcoming
book, Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message,
Huba and McConnell cite examples and examine the impact tech-enabled
individuals have on businesses.
McConnell says the
most influential citizen marketer is Jeff Jarvis, a widely read
blogger (www.buzzmachine.com) who had a bad experience with his
Dell laptop and service.
"He wrote on his
blog that 'Dell sucks' that 'Dell is scamming us.'" McConnell
notes. The story got picked up by major media and the term "Dell
hell" was coined. Soon the company was doing damage control.
the legal department," McConnell advises. A leading blogger
was turned on about an upcoming movie from Paramount. According
to McConnell, other bloggers posted a few clips from the movie.
Paramount's legal eagles swooped in, and forced the Web site to
shut down. When it reopened, the advocate became venomous, and
fueled Web outrage.
talking about boycotting Paramount, and a lot of readers will,"
McConnell says. "Paramount reached out and apologized, but
the bad news had spread across the Web to the opinion leaders."
McConnell says it was a major faux pas.
In contrast, Huba points
to Logitech, makers of Webcams. "A 17-year-old girl named
Melody, who goes by the screen name BowieChick because she likes
David Bowie, puts videos up at YouTube, and talks about her Logitech
Web cam. Her original video attracted 1 million views. Amazon
sales of Logitech Webcams spiked. They went way up. Logitech formed
a partnership with YouTube as a result," Huba says.
"We call Melody
a fire cracker," Huba adds. "She just exploded into
YouTube culture." Logitech was smart to capitalize.
Call Huba and McConnell
interpreters. They're explaining today's Web phenomena to businesses
from their offices here in Chicago.
is helping companies such as Dow Chemical, DuPont, GE and Siemens
analyze their Web presence and compete in today's world of CGM.
Senior Vice President
Tim Barngrover says, "We understand what activities are going
on beyond the click." Headquartered in River North, ClearGauge
employs 17 in a growing practice. Barngrover attributes it to
the company's ability to morph.
ClearGauge began in
1999 as an online advertising aggregator. When that business cratered
in 2001, it migrated to Web analytics, creating a proprietary
analysis package to help big companies monitor Web traffic for
high schoolers place No. 1
Black Data Processing
Associates President Yvette Graham is cheering. The BDPA Chicago
high school team took first place in a national computer competition.
Chicagoans Lee Reed, Maurice Shelton Andreaus Robinson and Joseph
Huggins are the 2006 BDPA High School Computer Competition national
Reed is a junior at
Walter Payton, Robinson a senior at Homewood-Flossmoor, Shelton
was home-schooled and will attend Purdue University this fall,
Huggins is a freshman at Chicago Hope Academy.
Graham, who doubles
as an Allstate corporate IT exec, is proud of her students. "Our
goal is to introduce our youth to technology and close the digital
divide. These winners have bright futures ahead," Graham
says. Plus they picked up $2,500 in scholarship money and new
HP laptop computers.
Advanced Diamond Technologies
President Neil Kane landed a $1.4 million grant from DARPA, the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, to focus on next-generation
broadband communication devices built on his company's nano-based
The Chicago Innovation
Awards received a record 220 nominations. The nominees will be
toasted at a reception at the Chicago Board of Trade on Sept.
Krauss is a Chicago area tech writer and consultant.