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Apparently I’m Banned in China!

According to the, I’ve joined a long list of web sites that are banned in China.

Youtube, Scoble, Search Engine Land and many others are banned. Based on the list I almost feel like I’ve reached some new form web success. Somehow Jeremy Zawodony is not? That wasn’t clear. I don’t see anything that is bashing China in my posts.

Click the link above and let me know if you are banned as well…

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Building Chinese Walls for Search Engines and Advertising Agencies

Danny Sullivan has been steadily beating a drum about the potential conflicts of interest in regards to Google, and now Microsoft, owning the search engine while owning a firm that provides SEO and SEM services.

In yet another area where my expertise from BlackRock would prove to be extremely valuable for immediate consulting or leadership roles at search engines, it is in the building of policies and management controls to build effective Chinese Walls. STOP – read that previous Chinese Walls link completely so that you don’t confuse it with the China Search Marketing Tour)!

If Google and Microsoft are to retain these services fully, they will immediately need to bring in people experienced in working in these Chinese Wall environments and who also understand the Internet space. This is a rare and highly valuable combination!  Only this select group is capable of to be able to develop policy and have a Board of Director’s mandate and resources to make it a reality.

I look forward to continuing this conversation, there is much work to be done here to ensure the integrity of the marketplace and it needs to happen quickly!

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Cicada Emergence Map for Brood XIII Chicago and Lake County 2007

The Cicadas are coming! This neat, interactive map put together by the Lake County Forest Preserve District allows you to report the amount of cicadas in your area!

This is a great example of a government agency collecting data through user generated content. The site is also nice link bait and will draw traffic and awareness of the Lake County Forest Preserve. This is also a good usage of an unique event to draw attention and awareness to the entity as a whole.


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Marshall Field’s

You will recall that last year, Federated Department Stores, now Macy’s, changed the name of Marshall Field’s to Macy’s. Now that flagship State Street store is well on it’s way to failing. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone was trying to buy it from them right now to start it anew. When history examines this, it will see lessons of branding and hospitality.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a press conference after its (Macy’s) annual meeting here Friday, Federated’s chief financial officer, Karen Hoguet, said former Field’s stores are performing no worse or better than the roughly 400 regional department stores Federated acquired from St. Louis-based May Department Stores Co. in 2005 and converted to Macy’s. But there is an exception: the Chicago store on State Street. The landmark store, long a tourist destination, is “doing badly,” Hoguet said, without providing specific performance data.

200px-Marshall_Field's_logo.svgAfter listening to Danny Meyer yesterday (see post below) I can’t help but noticing this wasn’t about a store, it was about hospitality, word of mouth and networking and the way people felt during that customer experience. A recent post on Marshall Field’s – message board (which is amazingly still getting strong traffic – you may recall I stated I thought this issue had blogsphere legs back in September) says it best:

“I miss shopping in Marshall Field’s because Field’s IS Chicago. For me shopping at Field’s was an adventure because Field’s was more than a store…it was an institution which made people feel special just being there amongst the special merchandise that only Field’s could offer and the sales people made even the transactions memorable because of the way they wrapped items, hard and soft, in white tissue paper sealed with a green MF sticker before generously pulling out a large MF forest green shopping bag in which to place my purchases. That was ‘the frosting on the cake’.”

“But you know what I r-e-a-l-l-y notice at commuter train stations, on North Michigan Avenue, on State Street and in the Chicagoland shopping centers, at O’Hare and Midway and at other airports around the country???? I miss seeing people, by the dozens and dozens carrying the distinctive green Marshall Field’s sturdy shopping bags with the handles! The absence is so barrenly striking. You readily KNEW they were either FROM Chicago or had a fun shopping trip as a tourist and were going back home. You just do not find people carrying macy’s plastic sacks anywhere it seems, she added. Why should they?! Macy’s is everywhere, and therefore not special at all. It is all so sad.”

Do you hear this Mr. Lundgren?

Another reader posted in reply to the many clearance items at the store now…

Customers want the stores converted back to Marshall Field’s not Marshalls.”

In a related matter, Macy’s has new problems due to accusations of a former LA Times reporter.