Giving Away Powerball Love

March 17, 2010

OK,  it’s time for a giveaway. I have ten $10 coupons to redeem for Powerball tickets. Here they are – all $100 worth.

Powerball Coupons

Powerball Coupons

These will be given away to a Minnesotan as the coupon specifically says they can be redeemed wherever Minnesota State Lottery tickets are sold.

I don’t know how the giveaway will be done yet but updates will mostly be given through Twitter and this blog. You do not have to follow me on Twitter to win. I really only want followers who are truly interested in my updates. You will however need to know the Twitter hashtag which will be mentioned here TBD.

How did I get these and why am I giving these away? I was at a Wild game on Singles Awareness Day (Feb. 14). The announcer called our row, and everyone in it won the same prize. Plus, I just want to do something nice for a random local.

So far I’ve received a couple of good recommendations. @JasonDouglas on Twitter suggested a Twitter auction. That does sound like fun and proceeds could go to the winner’s favorite charity.

@JasonDouglas Suggestion

@JasonDouglas Suggestion

@PGSCarol brought some humor and suggested I just give them all away at the office.

@PGSCarol Suggestion

@PGSCarol Suggestion

How about you? Any suggestions you think would work well for a giveaway?

The initial thought I had was actually the reason I joined Twitter 3 years ago. Basically, it was for a human scavenger hunt. Here’s more about that:

Twitter user @ldg has a site called the Least Dangerous Game. The site’s stagnant right now, but he would hide somewhere in the Twin Cities area, give out Twitter Clues to his whereabouts and would give a small prize to the first person who found him. It was a lot of fun actually and I remember learning some cool things about the area I previously didn’t.

Again, that was my initial thought, other suggestions are great and more are indeed welcome! What do you think would be a good idea for a giveaway?

If you’re a local business, would you be interested in teaming up? That would be wonderful and hopefully provide fun exposure.

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Delano, MN – Spirit of Community and City of Social Media

December 19, 2009

Yesterday, a good friend both on and offline @AaronWeiche politely suggested that I blog a little more. As a good gesture, I decided to write a post all for him!… and/or the city of Delano.

Quick background, Aaron is the VP of Five Technology, Web design and Internet marketing firm based in the heart of Delano, Minnesota and his company is designing their new city website. He also grew up in nearby Buffalo (MN) where he again lives with his wife and three young daughters.

Regarding Delano, it’a a really nice smaller town about 15 minutes west of the Twin Cities suburbs. They pride on being The Spirit of Community. They are now also a City of Social Media. To quote:

The city of Delano uses social media to provide two-way communication with the public and the City. The City of Delano communicates via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

This comes from a PDF document on their city social media guidelines for sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. It includes no vulgar language, personal attacks, spam, illegal activity and more. In the social media world, this means use common sense and I think the City of Delano gets this perfectly, especially when I see the words two-way communication as quoted above.

  • They have an active Twitter account which mentions their social media guidelines as well as other new and relevant things in the community. They also mention the award for their new Highway 12 bridge (opens PDF file).
  • Their Facebook Page is pretty active with 847 fans (as of this writing) and more relevant news and events that the community can find interesting.
  • They don’t have much of a YouTube presence, but here’s a quick vid on why to shop locally (not a big surprise that I’m a big fan of that).

Once following Delano on Twitter, I did get a Direct Message back thanking me for following them and their Spirit of Community. In the social media expert/guru/wizard/ninja/master world, this is a no-no. In this case, I think it’s absolutely appropriate as they’re welcoming me into their community. Thank you, Delano.

Anyway, I decided to take the advice given in their YouTube video and purchase items from them locally. Aaron recommended going to Three Crows Cafe and Coffee House for some java. It was so cool to sit, sip and watch a group of musicians chat and play some old songs. There were 3 guitars, a violin and a mandolin. I did check in on Foursquare but immediately put the iThing away to relax and just watch the musicians.

Three Crows

Three Crows

Next I purchased some bacon and summer sausage down the street at Rieder Meat Market. This place was actually recommended to me this morning while visiting a wedding photographer in Minneapolis who’s getting absolutely screwed by a local search company based out of Newark, New Jersey by hijacking his Google Maps listing and map-spamming it with fake addresses to “enhance” his rankings. Dudes, give the guy control over his listing and please quit making the Interwebz cry.

Anyway, Rieder’s summer sausage is really good. Haven’t tried the bacon yet.

My last purchase was at Delano Floral and Gifts. It’s your standard gift store and I had really nice help picking out a few last minute Christmas gifts. Don’t mind the website’s over-SEO. If you’re in the area, check the place out.

Delano Floral and Gifts

Delano Floral and Gifts

Thanks to Aaron from Five Technology for nudging me to do a post. I had a really nice time visiting a new town.

Five Technology Headquarters in Delano

Five Technology Headquarters in Delano

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Strib Article on SuperLawyers and Avvo Now Shows Minnesota Attorneys!

August 17, 2008

This could probably be two separate posts, but they’re closely related.

I don’t know how long this Strib article titled SuperLawyers Making Its Case will stay active, but it’s definitely interesting. SuperLawyers has done social media long before social media became popular, kind of like

It is evident that the 21st Century consumer is more sophisticated than ever and actively seeks information prior to making purchase choices, including the selection of legal representation,” retired Judge Robert Fall wrote in his report.

This certainly makes sense. Consumers are smart and can make decisions on their own.

For two years, New Jersey hasn’t exactly seen it this way as they have questioned their ethics since 2006 and I’m not sure what to think. A little over 14 months ago, I put out a post regarding SuperLawyers and if Avvo would be a good fit for them.

With that, enter Avvo. It’s a social-based site that gives their own ratings and provides reviews for attorneys. A particular SuperLawyer firm in Seattle (who I won’t mention because I don’t have time to deal with sue-happy derelicts) sued Avvo because they didn’t like their average Avvo rating. The case got thrown out, with good reason.

Minnesota attorneys – you probably already have a profile. Just check it out for yourself. Claim it, embrace it and encourage your clients to say nice and honest things about you.

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Bro-Sis Collaboration Update – Getting Ready for First Meeting

August 9, 2008

A week and a half ago, I mentioned that my sis and I are starting a new collaborative project regarding photography and traditional marketing, along with search marketing, local search, and social media.

In short, this project is to offer both customized private consulting to professional photographers along with numerous public speaking engagements.

We’re welcoming people to view or progress in various formats – good, bad, and ugly. More sites to come, but currently, they are…

This Blog
My Facebook Profile
My Twitter

Heather’s Blog
Heather’s Facebook Profile
Heather’s Tin Shed Studio Facebook Page

Our first meeting is this Monday at our ‘rents place in Reads Landing, MN and we’ve got about five hours to brainstorm. The first hour will be confirming our overall strategy. Our Dad reads this blog occasionally, and if you read this Dad, get your pontoon ready. The first hour is on the Mississippi.

My sis is new to social marketing, and I already think she “gets it” more than I do. It’s going to be fun collaborating with each other.

More to come… much more.

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Favorite Local News of the Week – Bridge Reflections, St. Paul Inline Marathon, and Good Question from DeRusha

August 1, 2008

We all remember the I35 bridge tragedy last year. WCCO put together a special bridge retrospective with perspectives from survivors, responders, officials, and more. I can’t believe it’s been a year.

I was on the phone wishing my mom a happy birthday at the time. I live pretty close by and remembered seeing some smoke, then hearing some sirens. I didn’t know what it was so I closed the windows so we could hear our conversation.

Tonight I walked toward the Stone Arch bridge just before 6:00pm to call her again for happy birthday wishes. She really appreciated it as I was explaining the scene and the moment of silence nearby. It certainly makes you appreciates life.


The Woodbury Bulletin put out a nice article regarding a high school junior skating her 6th inline marathon, which is this Sunday’s St. Paul Inline Marathon. It’s a great story, although I admit to being a little frustrated that major news outlets don’t cover this event. Last year I remember seeing one of the major’s putting a blurb about it, but it was only because of closed roads during the event.

If you’re an indie, small, or major local news outlet, this marathon is the 2nd largest in the country with approximately 2,000 skaters, both local and international with a huge amount of fans with cowbells and shout-outs rooting people on. I imagine readers would find this event very interesting.

Side note – barring storms, my nickel is on Ed Kohler finishing very close or even beating the 1h 30m mark. I will not and will be at 2+ hours. Nonetheless, we’ll both be hanging at the pre-race expo tomorrow geekin’ with gadgets.


I always enjoy the Good Question segments from Jason DeRusha, and a recent Good Question is regarding hedging. Some beeping came at the Carlson School of Management’s entrance and they provided some humorous banter. Jason never disappoints.

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Sneak Peak at Some Local Palore Data

June 25, 2008

A few of us got a sneak peak today and more info will be on Palore in probably 12 hours, but they have some decent info regarding restaurant reviews across the US.

US Restaurant Reviews

Regarding the email from Palore I received today…

Compiling this nationwide report, we took the total number of restaurants we found in each state and checked how many of them have at least one user review on at least one site.

It looks like Minnesota does fairly well as between 15 and 20% of local restaurants have received at least one online review.

More to come in a soon-to-be Search Engine Guide article.

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NCMR – Day One: Net Neutrality and Minnesota Model of Countering Corporate Media

June 6, 2008

Today was the first day of the National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR) at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I had prior engagements in the morning and had to miss the opening keynote by Mayor Rybak and Senator Klobuchar titled “Welcome to Minneapolis”. This was all fine since I live here anyway.

The first session I attended today was Future of the Internet: Open, Neutral, Mobile and Ubiquitous and it focused mainly on Net Neutrality. Toward the beginning, I saw a couple friends and fellow twitterers Ed Kohler and Ward Tongen. Just then I noticed a reply on a blog post I made yesterday from Twitterer John Breyault that he was in the same session as I. How cool is that? Hopefully I’ll meet up with him in the next couple days.

Regarding the session, Moderator Timothy Karr gave a US Web update. The US is falling behind on broadband as other countries are surpassing us. It turns out that Japan Internet users pay half the price and have faster access. Of course, AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon would love to get involved so we could pay even more (that last sentence is my spiel).

Tim Wu was the first panelist to speak. He actually turned from the dark side as he used to sell services to where the government chooses what Internet access users have, which is basically a discriminatory Internet. He also sold to corporations who wanted to control which sites their employees go to. He claimed we don’t have the broadband infrastructure that we should. A suggestion that he made was to have alternative means of bandwidth that is not controlled by big telco or cable, or even to provide wireless bandwidth to a length that we’ve never seen before.

Next up was Eloise-Rose S. Lee from Media Alliance and wound up receiving audience applause as being the panelist that is or was not a lawyer. 🙂 Due to restarting the laptop I missed most of what she said although her presentation was very short, too. She thinks a solution can be found on the local level. Start communication from the ground up, and not from the top down.

Next to speak was Jef Pearlman of Public Knowledge and was there to talk about wireless and initiatives moving forward. The premise was that the Internet is going global. People text, use wifi, and the phone will even eventually go through the Internet. He also pointed out a text messaging statement snafu made by Verizon.

He then went through three initiatives, although it went by quickly and I wasn’t able to take the best notes. One was on Verizon buying C Block, and part of the rules is that anyone who uses it has to allow any access to get through, which does sound like a good thing although my personal knowledge on that is limited. He also mentioned a grass roots activist group that would use bandwidth from unused television sets in 2009 when analog goes digital.

Last up was an energetic Susan Crawford. As a member of ICANN, she is very concerned about the future of the Internet. Telco says that the Internet is being ruined because they’re not making enough money from it (shocker). She also mentioned that there are 40 countries that censor their Internet to limit what their people can see, and our government wants to do the same thing. There’s certainly a connection with big telco and our government (at least with our current administration). One way would be to charge video one way, cell phone another, etc.

She was happy to present to us, which is essentially an Earth Day for the Internet. This year it will be on September 22. The idea is to focus attention on online audience participation, local Internet concerns, and to create a global constituency that cares about defending the Internet.

That was quite a lot of note taking but hopefully worth it. The next session has plenty of notes as well.

The second and last session of the day was titled Minnesota Model: Countering Corporate Media. This premise was about the big dailies declination and how smaller and niche newspapers have countered. Their was problems with the videos so unfortunately accompanying Powerpoints were not available.

First up was Jeremy Iggers from the Twin Cities Media Alliance and of the Daily Planet. He actually credits to their success. He points out that they have one or two articles by citizen journalists every day, and they also provide many sources of education. He drew laughter from the crowd when he mentioned one of these was called “Facebook for geezers”.

Regarding the citizen journalists, the Daily Planet uses that term because they want to be known as more than bloggers. They don’t just put anything up there and they do have editors that strictly goes through every article to ensure they are up to par.

Next up is Vickie Evans-Nash from the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder. This publication is definitely what many search marketers will call “hyper-local”. It’s been around for 75 years and offers stories “for the people”. They use people in mostly African American neighborhoods who know and have lived in these neighborhoods for a long time. She credits this motto to their continued success.

They also do special things for the community. Every year they do a black senior month. They ask these seniors that have lived there for awhile how the city and neighborhood has changed and what advice they would give to younger people. They also showcase local talent such as African American students that have graduated from different schools in the state and special notices when minorities own sports teams, etc.

Janis Lane-Ewart from KFAI is up next. Countering the corporate media is probably the subset for KFAI’s mission. Years ago, they didn’t have a program that talked about controversial issues such as GLBT or people who spoke other languages and wanted to build an avenue to absolutely include everyone. They’ve recently directed programs for the younger folks as well as they have lacked that audience. It wound up that KFAI was one of the first radio stations to have 12 different languages in their programming so everyone can have a chance to voice their radio opinions.

Next Up? Kathy Magnuson from the Minnesota Women’s Press. She started out by stating they wanted to cover two types of stories. One is to cover stories that others are not. The other way is by covering stories that others carry as well, but to put a woman’s spin on it.

An example is a pretty sad story that happened last winter. A toddler was found outside barefoot in the snow and cold. Police found him, brought him home and the mother was not there. As soon as she came home, the policemen immediately arrested her and threw her in jail. This is the mainstream story from a man’s point of view.

It turns out that she definitely did make a huge mistake. She decided to not wake her child when she received a desperate phone call from a friend with a gravely sick child. She obviously made the wrong decision, but was not a wrong person. This was written from the Women’s press from a woman’s point of view.

Subprime mortgages is also something they wrote about that mainstream did not. She described that women are more apt to get roped into subprime mortgages. Women are 30% of all borrowers but 39% of all subprime victims.

Last up was Sarah Lutman, VP of American Public Media, parent of Minnesota Public Radio. One of the first things she mentioned was that public inside journalism is a big part of what they are currently doing. At any given time, someone was providing their staff with information about a story that they weren’t able to get. Over the last four years, they have been able to receive over 50,000 public journalists to help them out.

I had a big grin on my face when she said that Twitter has been a great example of public journalism. During last week’s Barack Obama event at the X, hundreds of people sent MPR tweets of what was currently going on, both inside and outside of the arena. What a great example of how to use Twitter!

They also do a lot of live music for their “The Current” FM radio station. Whether it’s in a studio or playing a show, a lot of that music is on YouTube. She even mentioned podcasting as another way of using social media. Big kudos to MPR as this is some of the info I was looking for in the first place – great uses of social media from non-search marketers.

Tomorrow will be day two and I plan to write up notes again, but probably not quite as much. I really enjoy it, but I spent a lot of energy typing away and think I could have done a better job doing more listening to what they have to say where it soaks in quite a bit more.

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Get Your Twitter On – 2nd Season of the Least Dangerous Game

May 23, 2008

Ok fellow Twin Cities Web geeks, it’s time to again get away from your computers and get social! Aric McKeown from the Least Dangerous Game is back for a second season.

Every other Saturday (starting this Saturday at Noon), Aric will be “hiding” somewhere in the Twin Cities and will be sending out Twitter clues to his whereabouts. The first one who finds him wins a cool prize. For those on Twitter, here’s where you can follow him.

This is one of the coolest uses of Twitter I’ve seen. It gained WCCO exposure last year and will most likely gain more exposure this year. Different businesses have since used this idea for their own.

Regarding the LDG, it’s a fun way to meet new people and learn more about the Twin Cities. I tried it a few times last year and found him once, but was a few minutes too late for the prize as someone else just found him at a weird artsy exhibit at the State Fairgrounds. It was fine though as we all hung out and chatted, and I happen to be fond of weird artsy stuff.

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Local Search and Dominating the Results

May 22, 2008

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve received a few different inquiries regarding Google and local search. One was how to show up in Google Maps results, one was how to show up in the natural results for local searches, and one was how to appear above the fold for localized Google AdWords campaigns.

Why not achieve all three of them, plus some “piggy back” SEO?

The last SES conference I’ve been to was in San Jose close to two years ago, but Atlanta-based Stacy Williams from Prominent Placement gave a great example on how a local company can dominate results. To this day, it holds true.

There’s some dominance!

To many search marketers, this isn’t anything new. To local business owners, this may be. Google separates their natural, local, and paid listings. There’s no reason a local business can’t do the same.

Regarding “piggy back” SEO, this comes down to both local (Maps) and natural listings. By having profiles in places like and can only help. Google Local helps legitimize your profile and Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) results often appear toward the top in the natural results.

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Favorite Posts of the Week – MIMA Event, Social Media, and TV Personality of the Year

May 18, 2008

This past Wednesday, MIMA held a social media event at the Solera. They brought some top-notch panelists from Target, Best Buy, General Mills, and Fingerhut.

Lee Odden and Co. from TopRank were at Solera for it. Before the event, Lee provides a dual interview with Douglas Pollei (IKANO Communications) and Jim Cuene (General Mills). It’s nice to see that large companies are embracing social media, even if the uphill climb is steeper for them.

Marty Weintraub from the Aim Clear blog was also there and provided a great recap of the event. Marty! Another MIMA event we both attended and we haven’t met yet? I’ll have to make sure to look for you at the next one.

Focusing away from social media, do you have a favorite Minnesota news personality? Feel free to check out WCCO Jason DeRusha’s post regarding his nomination for TV personality of the year, other nominees, and shirts and stuff.

The awards themselves aren’t just limited to TV personalities, but do you have a favorite? Unfortunately, P-Diddy is not on the list.

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