On Being a Nielsen Family

Ever wondered what being a Nielsen household is like? In this 2008 article, Linda the red-headed blogger shares her experience. From what we’ve gathered about the Nielsen experience, many participants felt that TV viewing became a chore, even with the People Meter device installed. After all, many of us watch our shows days, if not, weeks later or in binge sessions once they’re available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, etc.  If you get to the People Meter stage, you’ll be surveyed and contacted often, which you’ll either find really intrusive or just thorough.

So what *IS* Nielsen Research?

They’re the company that collects data on viewing habits to inform networks and advertisers about their opportunities. They spend millions, if not billions, collecting this data but we’re sure they make that back tenfold, as marketers desperately seek the elusive insights that will help them reach more consumers.

With that in mind, some say that Nielsen is becoming less and less relevant. In 2014, the otherwise quiet company (at least as far as consumers are concerned) made a major announcement. They plan to triple, if not quadruple, the install base of People Meter devices. Currently, they sample the data of around 40,000 households, each representing their local markets. The sample data may not seem significant but, when you consider that they target specific markets and demographics, it makes sense that they’d use smaller segments to represent the wholes.

If you got something from Nielsen Research, don’t ignore it..  You’re part of an exclusive club of awesome people!

The process starts with your household receiving a basic questionnaire. They’ll ask you about your work schedule, typical viewing week, working television sets (including monitors), and household size. Larger households who collectively view over 20 hours a week of TV usually have an advantage, with TV show viewings being particularly important for data collection purposes.

My issue with the viewing diaries and other early steps is that the questions seem silly, intrusive, and redundant at times. Is my TV on or off? Why does it really matter? For these early stages, they should just capture the basic information to encourage folks to participate more. Also, let’s be honest: who is actively keeping a diary while watching TV, outside of the folks actively writing, podcasting, or covering TV in some way? It’s a bit much to ask of people without some real value for value exchange beyond the lofty “you could save your favorite TV show!”

As folks move more towards the commercial-free on-demand platforms, it seems Nielsen has no place but the reality is that they could shape how TV is viewed. It is my firm belief that, if they up the perks of being a Nielsen family, participating households will be more inclined to watch TV in the “old school” manner: as TV shows and movies are premiered. That said, it may be prudent for Nielsen to expand their scope to a week or two as they still rely heavily on DVR+1 numbers (the day shows premier plus DVR viewings the day after), which does not align with how most folks are consuming TV content these days. I reckon many people getting the few crisp dollar bills in the mail don’t even bother with the diaries or barely fill them out because it’s a huge pain in the butt. Why isn’t there an online submission form? The diaries should be worksheets to help easily jot down and structure the info.

Many of us in the Geeky Antics Network Global (GANG) community are involved in content creation, marketing, and the many facets of entertainment so we see Nielsen as a very important player in media as whole. As much as we say we don’t need cable, satellite, or maybe even TV as a whole, imagine a world without these content providers. It is my personal hope that Nielsen can help create a more competitive and balanced landscape for content consumers and providers alike.

Imagine if there were scaling incentives based upon the diversity and amount of TV you view as a Nielsen household. Perhaps folks would start scheduling their lives around the TV sets again like we saw before the Internet became huge in the late 90s and beyond. Of course, this could be a slipper slope for consumers. There’s a lot of quality television, with fantastic shows airing at the same time. On network television alone, there are usually four awesome shows airing at the same time on prime time.

20+ hours of weekly TV viewing.  Who has that sort of free time??  It’s no wonder a majority of TV viewing happens in binge/marathon sessions these days!

Let’s look briefly at the Fall 2016 TV schedule and the shows coming up: The Walking Dead, Lucifer, Van Helsing, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, Frequency, Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD, Designated Survivor, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Lethal Weapon, Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, Timeless, The Voice, Jane The Virgin, Son Of Zorn, Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons, Once Upon A Time, NCIS, Quantico, Bull, NCIS: New Orleans, Modern Family, Black-Ish, Empire, Law & Order: SVU, Blindspot, MacGyver, The Exorcist, Blue Bloods, The Vampire Diaries, Hawaii Five-O… Then you got the midseason shows like Grimm, Prison Break, Bones, 24: Legacy, The 100… HOLY HANNAH! That’s a lot of TV and, right there, you’re talking about a weekly commitment of over 20 hours. YIKES! There’s a lot of quality there, too, so I can see why former Nielsen families can find it to be daunting. Once you’ve been selected, you feel like you HAVE to watch more TV… because you kind of do.

BTW, The Exorcist is probably the biggest surprise this Fall TV season.  It’s a shame it’s a Fox show, which means it’ll probably be canceled.  This show is really, REALLY good..  So long as the gore and religious themes do not turn you off.

I’m a marketer and content creator myself (in case you haven’t noticed) so I’ve always found Nielsen Research to be a fascinating company. Now that I’ve met folks that have been involved in the process or have been long-time participants, it’s got me thinking about it all even more. I wonder about the future of media and entertainment. As much as I love digital, I think we are a bit spoiled and perhaps there is urgency here for us to change our viewing habits and watch TV responsibly. Gosh, that does sound like work but, really, TV is still a great way to disconnect and unwind. For many of us, it’s one of the few opportunities we get during our busy work schedules to connect with friends and family. To that end, I feel that Nielsen serves a vital role in re-uniting families and bringing them back to the living room.

Now, I know that a lot of personal development says you shouldn’t watch much TV, if at all, because it’s a time sink. It’s true. For a few years, my TV was down to under five hours a week. Now, I’ve been sucked in. What I’ve lost in productivity I’ve regained in friendships and conversation starters. There’s value in that. Heck, there is inherent value in the relaxation and creative prompts that TV content provides us. I get some of my best ideas while watching TV shows and, unlike reading a book (which is very important BTW), I can multitask a bit and still enjoy the content.

TV is not the problem.  It’s time management and knowing how to balance it all out.  If you don’t watch TV ever, my guess is that you’re not a very creative person..  And you’re probably a bore at social gatherings..  Sorry.

Perhaps I’m over-thinking it all and, somehow, this behind-the-scenes article on Nielsen Research has turned into an advocacy piece for prolific TV viewing? *shrug* All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t feel dirty for watching TV. We all need an outlet, after all. If you have been contacted by Nielsen, congrats – you are one of the maybe 10% of households that has been considered. The process is involved but it is well worth it. Dare I say: you are doing a great service for your country. Okay, that may be a bit much but it is important. Good luck and happy TV viewing – don’t forget to come up for air!

If you’re interested in some more specifics about the direction of Nielsen Media Research and the sample size of their data, check out this post – http://tvline.com/2014/05/29/tv-ratings-nielsen-to-increase-sample-size/

Crone and Bear It

Today is the day. The nice folks from the Nielsen company are coming out to disconnect all their equipment. Now that our commitment is over I can tell you that we have been a Nielsen family for the last two years. This is the second time we have been a part of the Nielsel Ratings system and it’s kind of a hoot knowing that what you watch on tv influences the ratings at least somewhat. One of our technicians told us we represented 60,000 households. Wow, that’s alot of folks channel surfing.

The last time we were randomly chosen to do this, the way Nielsen monitored your tv watching was a bit different. We had to keep a manual paper log of everything we were watching. That was a real pain, especially since at that time we watched alot of tv. Every time I turned around I was marking something…

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Jackie Chan Is NOT Dead: Internet Hoaxes & Lazy Content Marketing


A few days ago, my oldest son told me Jackie Chan was dead. Naturally, my immediate reaction was great sadness and a feeling of immense loss. Like most other red-blooded males, I love kung-fu flicks and often annoy my significant other with them. I also love Jackie Chan as an actor, director, and person. That’s besides the point, though.. Jackie Chan’s death would be the worst celebrity loss since Michael Jackson, in my opinion.

There is an awesome success story too deep to discuss here (Wikipedia has a wealth of history and it is mostly on-point, if you are curious). My love for Jackie Chan runs pretty deep, and I don’t idolize celebrities like most. He possesses traits and core values similar to my own and, in many ways, I aspire to be half the man he is. Jackie’s antics, warm smile, and quirky personality are enchanting, as Guy Kawasaki would say. His sense of humor is tops, which is something my wife would say I lack, in spite of my own beliefs. *smirk*

Being a bit of a Jackie Chan fan boy, I could not simply accept this news at face value. A quick Google search for “Jackie Chan death” revealed that it was yet another Internet hoax. I was relieved and annoyed at the same time.

Are people so devoid of original ideas that their content must be limited to mere pandering and silly hoaxes/stunts? That’s a rhetorical question, BTW.

This is not by any means the only or last Jackie Chan Internet death hoax. It seems anyone who wants site traffic or attention simply panders by writing about celebrity gossip, famous deaths, and silly pop culture. Some may consider Jackie Chan’s sense of humor or comedy style rather corny or over-simplified.. But he is still far more entertaining than most online content today. Truth.

Sadly, there is more to this story. Part of the issues here is that social media and SEO will always be abused. That means there is a lot of junk and lies spreading around! I blame laziness mainly.


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Why It Might Be Time To Dump Facebook

Everywhere I turn, a friend or colleague tells me Facebook recently sent them a nastygram about spammy behavior.  Each time, we have a laugh about it..  until someone gets suspended for the most asenine of reasons.  I have not been a fan of Facebook for a while but now it is only getting worse.  Let’s just say I am glad I did not put all my eggs in one basket…

As a free platform with full functionality out of the box, Facebook was a strong social network.  It started as a site for college students to network with each other and turned into something much bigger and better.  Facebook has blown up and become bigger than I am sure they originally anticipated.  In my humble opinion, they became too big too fast.

Due to the rapid surge in growth (and selling out with their IPO, which means now it’s all about keeping shareholders, not users, happy), Facebook has scurried to find ways to monetize.  Their strategy has been what we see so often: take away what we were already getting for free and water down the rest, essentially forcing people to pay if they want the same functionality.  It’s the old bait-and-switch at work.

The Facebook Bait-And-Switch - Make Friends, Then Pay For Them

Facebook – you don’t own my friends and fans!

The Facebook model is brilliant yet tragically commonplace: give it away for free, create a dependency (or addiction), then monetize and take our candy away.  On Facebook, we make friends and get fans only to find out they are Facebook’s property.  Fan Pages are almost completely useless now as only a small percentage of your subscribers will see updates unless you pony up some money.

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A Look At The Gaming Industry, Player Motivation, And Social Media Dynamics (Opportunity!)

This blog post is so interesting to me that I posted it on my other blog (yup, breaking some SEO rules)!

I’ve been working on some projects lately with heavy social media and game mechanics involved.  Thing is, the majority of online marketers, brands, and businessses still do not see the massive opportunity here.  I think these numbers speak for themselves:

(I realize this image is HUGE and doesn’t jive with my theme so click it for the full-sized image, if you like statistics, market research, and/or gaming..  but hate long load times…  You’re welcome.)

ESRB Video Game Industry Statistics

I know you analytics and market research buffs will love this, even if you don't "game"!

What’s interesting to me here is that the data hints that socializers are the biggest group of gamers.  I look at everyone as a player, though not all players are necessarily gamers (being a gamer, in the more traditional sense, is more of a lifestyle choice, a conscious commitment)..  Yet we all play games in our lives: reward programs, social influence scoring platforms, sweepstakes, blogging, etc.

Socializers are driven by the interaction and engagement between others.  There is endless opportunity here for thought leaders, inbound marketers, brands, and, well, everyone.  I think the major paradigm shift here is in value propositions.  We’ve always thought of value and ROI in terms of dollars and cents (or traffic and visibility, the mass marketing, noise-making ways of old), yet Nexon, Zynga, FourSquare, and countless others have shown us that a virtual economy can ultimately be profitable, while keeping your overhead costs down.

These market leaders have also shown us that players may not be driven by achievement, high-level competition, or even curiousity.  As human beings, we are driven to feel connected, if not validated and accepted, even if we may be tagged as socially-recluse.  There is power in feeling like you’re a part of something bigger than you, a community, and networking with like-minded individuals..  even more so when we can meet our goals together!  Social is beating the pants off traditional marketing, especially for small businesses and start-ups trying to stay lean.

Zynga was valued at over 7 BILLION, last I checked..  their games are free and very similar to the myriad of mobile and Facebook games out there.  I’d say that should create urgency for us all.

Have you considered implementing game mechanics and design into your online projects?  How about now?

Triberr Rocks, But Not For The Reasons Most Love It Or Hate It

So here I am doing my usual social media thing when I get mentioned on OsakaBentures.com via Disqus.

Before I go off on a tangent, I want to be clear.  I dig Saul and I appreciate that he sticks by his ideals and principles.  I just can’t agree with his views on Triberr, even if it’s the popular opinion (and I may get some tomatoes thrown at me), because it’s that sort of stuff that has made people hesitant or disdainful towards Triberr, IMHO.

Now allow me to rant about why I feel Triberr ROCKS but most people just “don’t get it”…

As I do my usual SEO schtick, I find tons of mis-representative content about Triberr.  Just Google “Triberr” – it’s rather overwhelming!  I’ll quote Nicole Crepeau’s Triberr article from Coherent Social Media:

In fact, there are things I love about Triberr:

I love the goal for which it was established: to give more exposure to smaller bloggers.

I love that being in Tribes can help keep your blog in front of your network and keep their’s in front of you.

I really like the new headline testing feature.

I like the way Triberr’s founders, Dino Dogan and Dan Cristo are ever present and responsive, and generally keep the discussion positive and professional–even when things have gotten a bit rough.

I like the fact that it’s working for people and increasing traffic to their blogs.

I like Dino’s thoughts about a union for bloggers, to enable bloggers to make a living at blogging.

There’s only one thing, actually, that I don’t like about Triberr:

I don’t like the auto-tweeting. 

I quote this not due to laziness but because I believe there’s no point in regurgitating what’s already out there on the blogosphere, especially when the aforementioned seems to be the consensus.  The automagical part is something folks either love or hate.  We get that.

No Triberr - From Coherent Social Media

"No Triberr.. BAD Triberr!" - Thanks Coherentia.com!

The problem with Triberr is not Triberr..  It’s YOU (shame on you!).  Okay, maybe not *you* specifically, but people that don’t use it in an ethical manner or at least manage expectations properly.

What we have here is an issue with semantics, framing, positioning, or whatever you want to call it.

I don’t get excited about the reach multiplier aspect.  I do SEO and I’ve seen how pure traffic is worthless unless you are engaging and have some decent concept about inbound marketing, authenticity, and conversions thereof.  You need to build trust, help others, and show you care before others do the same in return.

Now, what DOES excite me is what Dino Dogan has often told me in private and in public:

Triberr is the great equalizer.

Yes, I know, we have some a-listers in Triberr and they’re mostly good people.  Truth be told, I’d say 60-80% of the current users on Triberr would likely not be on there if there were not these sorts of social media and online marketing rockstars.   Some folks just want their link juice, so to speak.  In spite of those folks that draw in the fanboys, suits, and bean counters, I still believe in this vision: giving smaller bloggers and thought leaders a chance to find their own captive audience.

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Support-A-Thon: Evaluating Social Currency And Re-humanizing Online Experiences #supportathon

So, is anyone else tired of hearing all this junk about the “ROI of social media” and the “value of friendships”?

I know I am.  I think I may *SCREAM* if I hear “ROI” and “social media” in the same sentence again. #justsayin

It seems that too many folks are jumping on the social media bandwagon with only one thing on their mind: money.  Now, we all need to make a living and I know I certainly have mouths to feed (my own in particular – hey, I’m a growing boy) but are we focusing on money first when the relationships should be at the forefront of our thoughts?

Social Media Currency - Is money the only thing on your mind?

Source: NewMediator.com

These thoughts have been inspired by recent conversations with Jen Olney, Dave R. Gallant, Robert Dempsey, Karla Campos, Eugene Farber, and many other wonderful people.  While we don’t agree on every last detail, we all agree that there are too many issues with how folks approach social media.

I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet as we touch upon the following concepts:

  • Redefining social media currency, relationships, conversions, and what engagement really means.
  • Moving away from the robotic ways that have taken the warmth out of online interaction.
  • Focusing on helping others so that the stuff we want falls into place naturally.
  • Engaging in reciprocation that is more meaningful, authentic/sincere, and worthwhile for all.

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Support-A-Thon: Forging A StumbleUpon Alliance & Unlocking StumbleUpon’s Full Potential

#ConversionFest UPDATE:  I am now in 4th place and coming up on 3rd place for the Unbounce.com Conversion-Fest Contest, thanks to the team effort.  If the comments keep coming in, we’ll knock this one right out of the park no problem!  Skype me or text me for more details.  Now let’s move on…

So, ever since Mashable released an article stating that StumbleUpon accounts for at least 50% of social media traffic suddenly everyone is listening.

To me, this is not news.  I’ve seen the potential in StumbleUpon since I started around 2007.  Admittedly, with all the things vying for my attention, I haven’t fully unlocked the potential yet it remains one of my topic traffic sources and, quite honestly, has been more fruitful than Facebook.

 “]Shareable Content Via Social Media (Web 2.0)In spite of the avid fanfare from active Stumblers and an industry leader in Ben Parr endorsing StumbleUpon (though not with much fervor, I must say), folks are still on the fence.  StumbleUpon can plant seeds for productivity over a long period of time, growing your audience organically and persistently.  Other platforms eventually lose momentum unless you keep planting the proverbial seeds and watering them often.  Soooo…

What is the cause for resistance?  I’d like to demystify and debunk social media beliefs while providing some compelling reasons to jump onto StumbleUpon (or get more active) TODAY.

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Please Help Me Promote My Unbounce.com Guest Blog – August 16th Is The Big Day!

NEWER!  My article is live and, let me say this: the support has been phenomenal!  Even more impressive is the fact that the conversation has been so positive and educational for everyone.  Come join us and learn more about doing business online.  If you dig it, share it forward.

The Adaptive SEO Approach (a.k.a. Bringing leads to you, engaging audiences, and converting naturally!) –  http://unbounce.com/seo/the-adaptive-seo-approach

NEW!  We started a Facebook Support-A-Thon event to promote the Unbounce.com #ConversionFest and my upcoming article.  Join us and we’ll connect further, setting up opportunities for future cross-promotions and other collaboration!  Definitely check out the Unbounce.com Conversion Fest scoreboard to learn tons of useful stuff for career shifters, business owners, and creatives alike!

I don’t often “sell” or make shameless plugs here on Y3B but it’s time to be a little selfish.  I’m going to be honest here, folks…

I need your help promoting my upcoming guest blog entry on Unbounce.com!  Without your help, it will be an EPIC FAIL.  Just saying.

On August 16th, the article goes LIVE and I’m a tad bit nervous (though I am glad for the extra prep time).  I humbly admit that I likely won’t win the grand prize and I’m fine with that…  But I do want to see just how good I can promote something when the urgency is really there (and I have tons of other things going on, mind you).  I’ve already started plugging away but, once we’re a week out from the publishing date, you better believe I’ll be priming our audiences and networks to promote my guest blog entry and get the gold seal!

Unbounce.com Conversion Fest Blog Contest 2011

Unbounce.com Conversion Fest Blog Contest 2011

All I will need is for you to retweet, have your followers retweet, leave comments, and share on Facebook.  This is the stuff you already do but I also ask that you put Buffer, Dlvr.it, Paper.li, TwitterFeed, and all that other wonderful stuff to work to help automate and catch people when they are really paying attention.  I want to see just how much exposure this article will generate.  I’m anxious and excited at the same time.

I want to thank Laurinda Shaver, John Gordon, Oli Gardner, Julie Nutter, and Christian Hollingsworth for helping me get that extra level of polish on what started off as a VERY rough draft.  You all ROCK my socks!

Now for a preview and some additional thoughts on the article in question…

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