Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Paula Zahn shows that celebrities are not Immune to a Sexless Marriage

With the media frenzy picking up, it's hard to avoid word of former news anchor Paula Zahn's affair with Paul Fribourg. Word has now come out that Paula blames this very public ordeal because her marriage with husband Richard Cohen was of the sexless variety.

Whether or not these tawdry tales are true, sexless marriage is a serious and pressing issue. One of the most powerful experience groups at Experience Project is "I live in a sexless marriage"-- and provides an exploration from both gender's perspectives of what such an arrangement is not only like, but how it might be improved. Experience Project's culture is about positive growth and improvement of wellness- and that often starts by realizing you are not alone.

Through our encouragement of anonymity, our members can explore whatever it is that is on their minds-- be it a sexless marriage or remembering your first kiss, in a comfortable, safe environment and meet people who truly understand them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Welcome tour of the Experience Project World Headquarters

To kick off a new project we're calling "EP TV" we did a quick welcome tour of the Experience Project office to introduce you to the team. Check out the video below:

For the beholder


No, not bored. But a bit underslept!

I can't explain just how productive the Experience Project Team is. In the past week, we've added:

-Powerful new threaded mailbox (think Gmail)
-A promotional badge and logo page (share EP on your website or blog)
-Address book import (pass on EP to your address book without sharing your username)
-Random story and group links (stumble through Experience Project!)
-Sorting your stories by unread comments (we heard you!)
-Subscribe to stories (get notified by email when someone else posts a comment)
-Tons of tweaks and bug fixes to make the site more usable for you

Yes, all in 7 days. Weekends count at EP.

Why? Because we love our users and know how important the site is to them, and so going the extra mile could very well make their lives just a tad bit better.

Keep the suggestions coming. We're listening. And just you wait until the features coming out NEXT week. We're going to knock your socks off. Maybe your shirt too. Scandalous!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

BlogHer (dawn's take)

Wow, Julio covered a lot of bases with his summary of BlogHer. He did forget an couple of key details, however. One was the amazing dance party that Jessica and I had along with many other women at the final cocktail party in the Children's Museum at the Navy Pier in Chicago. We busted some moves to a mix of top 40's. Gwen ( and Tara ( were key dance floor buddies, and many other women joined our hip-swiveling affair until we had a full on funk fest (ok this is getting a bit cheesy...) We're still anxiously awaiting some of the many pics that were taken to appear in the blogosphere.
Speaking of pictures, another one of our fave features of this particular party was the old-fashioned photo booth that Jessica and I (ok, especially Jess;) took full advantage of. We have several sets of pics of the EP team making all sorts of ridiculous faces in black and white awesomeness.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Windorphins eBay Campaign Deconstructed

eBay has been running a mysterious mass-market ad campaign for the past two months, referred to as "Windorphins." Cryptic messages on billboards, bus stops, newspaper stands show colorful, cutesy blobs like the one above, and some feel-good message that you might think is more appropriate for an anti-depressant or Microsoft Windows ad instead of one for the onlin auction giant.

But you see, you get a "windorphin"-- a play on the stress hormone endorphin-- when you win an auction. Oh. Right.

The purpose of this post isn't to argue the merits of the ad campaign itself, but rather to try to get a sense of what the impact is of such a mass-market, eyeballs campaign where the brand is hidden behind some mystery. The hope is that this triggers curiosity in people who already know (and are indifferent) to the brand, and both reinvigorates abandoned users, as well as enchants people who had previously dismissed the idea of using the given brand's products. A very similar example could be found in the campaign for their search engine about "the Algorithm."

So, enough of the theory-- is this a good use of limited marketing dollars? Certainly Windorphins has gone from no recognition to some semblance of fame in a very short time...

But that graph is useless without comparing it to something... more impactful. Like the ladies of the press, Paris and Britney:

Now we see that windorphins really aren't making all that much of a splash, particularly for a site with the girth of eBay. To be fair, Paris and Britney are monstrous search terms, but that's the type of traffic one might think eBay needs to generate for this to be a worthwhile endeavor.

However, in the interest of pseudo-science, let's take a look at something more up the alley... another recently rising star, like David Beckham of the Galaxy. Surely eBay can compete with Beckham in the US? And for good measure, let's throw in a well known, but off the radar actor, oh, say Rob Schneider?

Ouch. Beckham has bent it all around the Windorphs. And Schneider, at minimal baseline levels, is pulling the same.

It's hard to tell what the actual traffic is that makes up these graphs. The best we can do from publicly available data is to take a look at Quantcast's chart, which is very likely underestimating the traffic and is likewise dated to only the beginnings of the campaign:

Oh my. Approximately 3-4 thousand visitors a day? What does each "eyeball" cost?

One other thorn: If you type in "Windorphin" on Google, the first result isn't even Ebay's! (Windorphins does lead to eBay if you're feeling lucky, however).

So the laymen's conclusion about mass eyeball marketing in major cities for a cutesy technology product with zero name recognition and no brand association? It simply isn't doing a whole lot of anything for eBay but costing them lots of money, and perhaps a collective annoyance among the public when people discover the brand behind the ruse.

You can discuss your thoughts on the Windorphs and Windorphins at Experience Project.

Other articles of interest here,here, and here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dispatch from Blogher Part 1: Julio’s Take

As our videos below can attest we had a great time at Blogher, learning a lot from all the amazing women that were there. As many of you know, Experience Project has very strong female participation, and as the site grows we need to ensure we are able to maintain the safe and comfortable culture that has been so valuable to members over time. What best way to get feedback and input on community building than from talking to hundreds of women that are experts in social media?!?!

The conference merits some honorable mentions from my side… I’ll let Jessica and Dawn do their own honorable mentions in later posts. So here we go:
  • Special thanks to all the bloggers that helped us steer through the conference and meet more great women. Wendy Piersall, Elizabeth Edwards, Kelly Reising, and Liz Strauss were all especially welcoming and generous.
  • I personally love photography (and dabble a bit in it) so a special mention to Georgia Popplewell for always being on top of the photo world during all the social events. Caroline Donahue is an insightful life coach moonlighting as a talented photographer (or is it the other way around?)
  • Most inspiring interview we did was with Carol Lin (you can see the video in our previous post), former CNN anchor who lost her husband to cancer and is on a mission to bring support to others like her via the web (cancer social network). Carol’s story especially resonated with all of us at EP given the commonalities of how both sites got started from a personal need to help others going through difficult times. I told Carol that I thought that her genuine desire to help is the greatest driver of all as it has been in our case at EP.
  • Most laughter: Gina Trapani of Lifehacker. Despite being super busy and overly sought-out (blog superstar!), Gina sat around with us for an interview and for nearly 20 minutes afterwards just joking around and exchanging ideas. We were all incredibly surprised at how giving Gina was and especially how carefree and contagiously jovial she was – must be that amazing San Diego lifestyle!
  • Making a big difference: Two bloggers that I met over lunch that are making a big difference to their readers are Therese Borchard and Rachel Inbar. Therese does a near “Dear Therese” Q&A spin on fighting depression and is insightful and compassionate on her blog. Rachel talks about infertility and introduced me to some great web tools that she uses to make a lasting difference with her readers.
  • Best t-shirt design, Larry Smith of SMITH. Too bad they weren’t giving any out (at least I didn’t get any...) but the company logo and t-shirt design were beautiful. On some shameful self-promotion, our t-shirts came out pretty cool as well if I may say so myself. Design was courtesy of Bruce Drummon, an amazing and very professional designer.
  • Finally, special thanks to the wonderful women behind blogher: Jory, Lisa, and Elisa who I had the pleasure of meeting in person over the weekend and who put together what was a flawless conference!