Member Login

Only Influencers

The top thought leaders in digital marketing share their insights and thoughts on the Only Influencers blog.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
Bill McCloskey

Bill McCloskey

Bill McCloskey is the founder of Only Influencers, LLC and eDataSource, LLC

Nothing happens unless you make it happen.

I know you’ve heard that a thousand times before. But it bears repeating: NOTHING HAPPENS unless YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Here is a case in point:

One day, back in the mid 90’s,  I went to the mailbox and there was a notice asking if I'd like to subscribe to a new magazine that was starting up. A Miller Freeman publication called 3D Design Magazine. Miller Freeman was and is a huge publisher who specialized in niche technical  journals. Their big seller was “Pulp and Paper”. And they were getting into 3D Animation.


I had been working as a demo jock for a high end French 3D animation software company called TDI (I’ll save my “Never Work for a French Company when your big trade show is in August” rant for another day).  One day I noticed that one of the TDI sales guys had an article published in the big trade magazine in our industry,  Computer Graphics World.

“Hey, how did you do that?”  I asked.

“I just submitted something, “ was his answer.

What? Could it really be that simple?

I called up Computer Graphics World and gave them my background. Sure, they would love for me to write something for them on spec.

So I punched out a perennial favorite in any industry: “How to get your best deal, “ in this case your best deal in buying high end 3D animation software and hardware. (The secret ?  Buy at the end of the quarter). 

They liked it, and said it was evergreen. Meaning they would run it when they had space to fill. Nothing urgent about it. People are still writing the same article 20 years later. (In fact, our own Jason Simon wrote a similar article right here on the OI blog: See "Buying on the Quarter: How to get your Best Deal From Any Vendor.)

So now I had this subscription notice for this new and unknown competitor to Computer Graphics World in my hand. Their office was in San Francisco, so I called them up.

Last modified on Continue reading

I enjoyed watching the first episode of HBO's new show Silicon Valley. The first episode revolved around whether the young entrepreneur should sell his company outright or take funds to grow it.

One of the biggest concerns of the would-be entrepreneur is exactly that: how to fund their business. And one of the biggest misconceptions around funding is  the whole notion of VC's. Entrepreneurs are often under the delusion that all they need to do is find the right investor to write them a big check and all their worries will be over. What they don't realize is: it ain't like it seems on TV. 

First of all, a reality check: VC funding is the most expensive funding you will ever take. If you self fund, or fund through friends and family, all you risk is interest charges or a piece of the profits. But when you take VC funds, you are basically putting your business and your livelihood into the hands of strangers.

Almost all VC deals are boilerplate. That is a good thing. Future investors want to see as plain vanilla a deal as possible. They don't want to see surprises. Which also means, it is pretty easy to find out exactly what you can expect in a typical VC deal.

After the VC calls and says they are ready to invest, thats when the headaches can begin and  it starts with the term sheet: the thing you need to sign in order to get the money. And when it comes to term sheets, time is on the side of the VC and time is the enemy of the entrepreneur. The VC knows this and uses it to their advantage. For instance: did you know that when you are negotiating the term sheet you are not only paying for your lawyer, you are paying for the VC's lawyer as well? It is not uncommon to be in the hole $150k in lawyers fees just to negotiate the term sheet. And the process can stretch on for months, taking up the time, attention, and resources of the founders.  By the end of the process, taking the money is no longer a nice to have, it is a need to have. And the VC's know this.

Last modified on Continue reading

This week, Bill continues the story of his biggest failure. Be sure to read Part 1 here first.


“In Dreamland we trace the life of our protagonist, Chad Holloway, from birth to his apparent suicide at the wheel of a high performance sports car. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the player constructs the arc of Chad’s life: the mystery surrounding his birth, his rise to political power and his eventual tragic fall, and the source of the terrible guilt that has driven him to despair. These events unfold against the backdrop of an abandoned amusement park which is governed by a strange and enigmatic caretaker named Virgil. “

dreamland1“ The events of Chad’s life, outlined below are revealed to us as fragmented memories. These memories appear in the form of video sequences, photo albums, disembodied conversations, recordings, newspaper clippings, letters, and other mnemonic devices that are discovered, via the game-play, scattered throughout the amusement park of Dreamland.”

So began the 100 page package we created for Microsoft, including a 50 page script, dozens of detailed drawings, and all the game play outlined.

The four members of Quartet rented some offices above a real estate office where we would meet each day to develop the game. Tim Gavin set up a drafting table and began producing these large, intricate drawings. Each day we could see the script we were creating take life on Tim’s table. Paul had set up a studio nearby and was creating an entire score for the game. He’d drop by with the latest musical theme for us to listen to while we played the current crop of computer games to check on the competition.

And watching Kristi was like attending a graduate course in filmmaking. When we weren’t working on the script, she would be on the phone chatting with famous producers and directors like they were her best friends, which they often were.

We flew out to Los Angeles to meet with the Microsoft team at the Digital Domain offices.  The meetings went great, Microsoft is excited, Digital Domain is excited. The lead developers at Digital Domain are telling me it is the best game script they’d ever seen. Soon, we are having lunch in Santa Monica and in restaurants with giant Jonathan Borofsky clown heads over their front door.

dreamland3Somewhere we run into Scott Ross, who along with James Cameron had founded Digital Domain, and he was sporting a huge cigar. “Everyone loves Dreamland,” he tells me. We leave LA thrilled.

Back in New York, we hear through our agent that Microsoft wants to move to the next stage. They want to sign a development deal and hand us a six figure check. We are to fly out to Redmond, WA the next weekend and sign the papers.

Last modified on Continue reading

Nearly every Entrepreneur lives with failure. Not in some abstract notion of failure, but real, house on the line, in your face, everything-everyone-told-you-would-go-wrong-does kind of failure. As an entrepreneur, you have the same chances of being a Zuckerberg right out of the gate as you do being born the Prince of Wales. Chances are you are going to rack up some mighty big failures. Cataclysmic failures. 

Here is one of mine: 

Last modified on Continue reading

This week I received an intro/pitch email from a "sales expert" representing an ESP I had never heard of. The email,  and my follow up conversations with the sales rep, provide the fodder for this week's "Teachable Moment in Email Marketing : How Not To Write a Prospecting Email."

The names of the sales person and his company will remain hidden to protect the guilty, but here is the email I received:

"Good Afternoon,
     We are currently connected on Linked In! I am really fond of Linked In and I appreciate what it has done for me! I just wanted to send you a quick message Introducing Myself!
     My name is (removed) and I am Located In (removed), If you have never been to this Amazing City I highly recommend you to pay it a visit!
Now I do not want to waste your time with an intro email that you do not want to read! I am an Expert in the Email Marketing Field and have been now for the last 5 years! If you are looking to do some email marketing or you just need some tips or pointers DO Not be afraid to email me or give me a call!

I appreciate the time you have taken out of your day to read this email and I look forward to your response!

Thank you for your business,"


When introducing your company to someone you have no previous relationship with, it is vital to make your email seem professional. Before we delve into the content, let's start with the basics: formatting.

Last modified on Continue reading

Can starting a company really be as easy as raising your hand?

It can. In fact that is exactly how I started The Rich Media Sig in 1999.

Anytime there is a sea change, there are tremendous opportunities for the entrepreneur to capitalize on that change, especially in the area of technology evangelism. And creating "community" around new ideas and technologies provides low cost opportunities for developing new businesses.

1n 1999 I had established myself as one of the evangelists in the "rich media" market that was just opening up. I had served as the VRML evangelist for SGI, a computer company that specialist is high end 3D computers and was looking to establish itself as the leader for 3D on the Web. How I got the SGI job is the subject for another article but it gave me the opportunity to participate first hand in the development of new internet advertising technologies and I was part of a group of companies including Intel, Macromedia, Unicast, and InterVu that actually coined the term "Rich Media" and evangelized these technologies to the advertising marketplace.

During my time at SGI, I had produced some of the earliest rich media "banners", including a 3D animated banner for Pepsi (created by Out of the Blue Design Ltd), commemorating the landing of the Mars Sojouner space craft. I wrote about these new rich media technologies in publications like Clickz and Mediapost and so my name was well known in this newly emerging industry. I was an "influencer". And I was able to use my position as an "influencer" to launch a successful business: The Rich Media SIG.

It started with a simple post to an online forum.

Last modified on Continue reading

Tomorrow I turn 60.

What a marvelous age to be!
When I was 14 I watched the moon landing with my Grandfather. I always marveled at the changes he had seen in his lifetime: from the birth of plane flight to watching a man walk on the moon. I didn't realize then that I would be witness to transformations every bit as monumental.

I feel blessed to have been born in 1954: 50 years ago, when I was nearly 10, I watched the Beatles first appearance on Ed Sullivan. I know were I was when John Kennedy was shot, when Martin Luther King was shot, when Bobby Kennedy was shot, and when John Lennon was shot. In fact I even met John Lennon once, outside an Orange Julius in Boulder, Colorado.

Last modified on Continue reading

Starting a business is like setting out on a long journey, destination unknown and no itinerary to guide the way. Entrepreneurs don’t take the tourist package. I have both literally and figuratively put my thumb out on the road throughout my life, hitching to the next destination, unsure of when the next car would come, but always sure that one eventually would.

In 1980, I was working for a small pre-amplifier company in Boston called APT Corporation, founded by Tom Holman. Holman was a quiet genius who went on later to work for George Lucas where he invented the THX movie audio standard as well as 5.1 surround sound. The TH, in THX, stands for Tom Holman.

My job was packing and shipping out the Holman Apt Pre-amplifier, a piece of audio equipment that was light years beyond what anyone else was doing, or has done since. It had a neat feature where you could “dial out” the lead singer and just hear the backup band playing. Every day I would listen to them test each new unit by playing bits and pieces of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors. To this day, I can’t listen to that album.

At the time, I saw myself as the future Henry Miller. I was obsessed with everything about the great writer. If I could just get to France, I thought,  I could reinvent myself just like Henry did at age 40, when he landed in France with little money, unable to speak a word of French. A few years later, he published Tropic of Cancer, the book that changed history.

Last modified on Continue reading

In this journey, many of us have had a lot of different jobs and worn different hats. I've had more than most. Recently I made a list of all the jobs I've had. Believe or not, here it is:

I worked as a Sprout Farmer.

I have been a grave digger for a Pet Cemetery.

I did one graveyard shift at a Cement Factory squeeging the tops of Cement molds.

I was a vegetable stocker at Bread and Circus, the first natural foods supermarket in the US. 

I worked for Pat Cadell, Jimmy Carter's pollster.

I have worked in record stores in Austin Tx, Boulder Colorado, and Erie, PA.

I worked as a bartender.

At one time I made my sole living as a musician.

At one time I made my sole living as a writer.

I have taught at the college level.

I worked in a plant store in Pittsburgh.

Last modified on Continue reading
Bill McCloskey
is the founder of and Only Influencers, LLC. He has been a pioneer in fields of Rich Media advertising and Email Marketing since 1997.

In a few months, I'll be turning 60, the last 20 of which have been spent as an entrepreneur in the field of online advertising. My life has been neatly divided into packs of 20: 20 years growing up, 20 years trying to be an artist, 20 years an entrepreneur. I expect one last 20. The greatest of them all.

The unexamined life, they say, is not worth living. So I plan on carving out some of this last packet to a bit of reflection on how I got here. In this blog series, which I'm calling The Journey, I won't be writing about Email Marketing or even Entrepreneurship. This blog will be about the parts of my life that I want to document and leave behind, to my kids and their kids and to anyone else who might find it interesting.

I've had an interesting life and was lucky to be born at a time when life as we know it changed forever. And I was a small part of it.

As I watch my children graduate college and take their place in the world, I'm reminded that the thing that I'll be rememebered for, the thing I built my career on, wasn't even around when I graduated college. I could have never planned my future career, not that I ever tried.

Over the years I was a writer, a musician, an actor, a painter, a 3D animator, a father, a husband, and an entrepreneur. At one time, I was even a gravedigger for a pet cemetary. None of it was planned. For most of my life, I floated like Gump's feather.

So, let this stand as the introduction. I'm not planning on promoting these posts. I'm going to write them and leave them floating like a note in a bottle. Like a feather. This blog is going to be about those other lives, and the journey from there to here. Or to put it another way: this blog's for me.

Last modified on Continue reading
Tagged in: Bill McCloskey

In the next few months I’ll turn 60, an interesting age for an entrepreneur: so many distractions and life experiences are behind me. My children are grown and starting their own lives, whatever midlife crises I experienced have been overcome. It is a marvelous time to set up one’s final vision.

In Part One of this series (Visions, Part One) I touched on the vision I had early this summer. Today I want to talk a little about that vision and my plans for the future. But before I do, if you will indulge me, I want to talk a little about the aging process and entrepreneurship.

I was a late bloomer. I started my first full time business at 46. The businesses I wanted to build at age 46 are not the businesses I want to (or could) develop now. For one, there are physical limitations. A lifetime of flat feet and bad knees have caught up with me. A recent business trip to a trade show made me realize that my days traveling and walking the show floor are behind me. And unlike my wild and crazy younger years, I’ve developed a deep love and need for being close to home, creature comforts, routine. I just don’t want to go anywhere anymore.

But the type of business I want to develop now is also different. Early in my career, I wanted to make a name for myself, maybe get rich, and the ideas I had required a large team to implement. Soon I had VC backed company, was managing dozens of people, was commuting 4 hours each day, and was creating an industry around email intelligence. I’m incredibly proud of what we accomplished and continue to accomplish at eDataSource.

But a few years ago, I wanted out and I began to put together a business geared not towards growth, but towards personal freedom. After years of fighting daily battles I told myself, I wanted to create something with no partners, no investors, no large clients I was dependent on. I wanted something that could be run by me alone, from anyplace I wanted to run it from. In other words, I wanted my freedom back.
The success of Only Influencers gave me new insight and eventually led, three years later, to the vision I had this last June, sitting on my deck, looking out on the Hudson River.

And here is the vision I had.

Last modified on Continue reading



This week I was able to sit down and speak with Bill Wagner, the CEO of StrongView to talk about the name change for StrongMail and what is coming up in the future. Below is the transcription and you can hear my full interview by clicking on the link above.

OI: Can you tell me why the name change and what does that signify for the company

Bill: StrongMail was a great name for a company that was founded 10 years ago as an email infrastructure provider, but we have evolved so much beyond that. As we announced the rebranding the question I'm getting more than "Why did you change the name?" is "why did it take you so long to change the name." And we tend to agree with that.

It is really a reflection of who we are. We have so far surpassed what StrongMail was when the company was founded that we felt the timing was right and frankly it fits our aspirations and the products that will coming out shortly.

OI: Can you Talk a little about those "aspirations".

The new name doesn't mean a new strategy. The new name is catching up with the strategy. StrongView is a reflection of not only the cross channel capabilities but more importantly the visual nature of our product. It has evolved quite a bit: there are a lot of visual elements to it. Visually depicting audience engagement across all the different possibilities of various test splits , the view of campaign performance as it is happening in real time, dashboards that really give you a view of what is happening in and across campaigns. To some extent it sets the immediate reflection of "view" within the product, but the more aspirational view has to do with what is going to be coming out that is not yet announced, so i can't give away too much detail.

But we did an announcement in February with Amazon where we are leveraging the Amazon data warehouse and our upcoming product release which will be coming out very shortly, will reflect that integration. We are going to be doing some really interesting things with data that nobody else is doing. At that point the "Visual" part of the name will be beyond "visual" aspect of the product,  per se, and more visual as a reflection of insight and knowledge born out of the data. So that is the aspirational aspect of what you will see shortly.

OI: Will clients notice any difference in they currently way they function with the product?

The short answer is that current clients will not notice anything different, per se, what they will experience is an opportunity to have an expanded set of capabilities. If you are happy with the way things are, you are going to be happy with what's coming. If you want more and you want to expand to have new capabilities and do some new things, you'll have that opportunity.

OI: I don't know if you have been following any of the discussion on the Only Influencers list, but some of the comments about the name change dealt with this notion of an "Integrated" approach vs "Best of Breed" and that vendors develop integrated platforms when the company's themselves are silo'd as far as job function.

I did see that thread. The first  thing I will say is that the organizational aspect of Silo'd over Integrated is still being worked out and what we are experiencing is every organization is different. I'm not seeing a clear trend yet in terms of ownership. It is a function of the size of an organization, the religious beliefs of the organization in terms of how they like to do things, right? It is really a mixed bag.  It is not Integrated vs best of bread is far as an "or" function. we see more as an "and" function. And the reason we see it that way is we are, for most, focused on Enterprise accounts. Those accounts tend to be very heterogeneous, even though they might have big investments with a vendor, they do more often than not have a lot of different products, technologies, data sources and things like that. So what we try to do when we engage a brand, we look at what they have, we look at what they want to do aspirationally. If they have a CRM system or an whole campaign management system from an IBM, an Oracle and they want to retain that investment, we don't come in and say  "hey rip that out", we basically show them how to amplify that  investment: in those situations we'll integrate with those platforms.

But not every company has those systems and I think that is where the idea of integrating comes in to fill that gap for where those systems don't exist. The other thing I see playing out is the discussion brands are having with vendors and the criteria is very much a multi-channel criteria but not always with a clear line of sight how they are going to use that. In some ways they are sort of hedging their bets: before when they would have gone out and vetted an email service provider they are now, for that same set of requirements, vetting email service providers with a cross channel capacity, again not with necessarily a clear line of sight on how they are gong to integrate these things but more about hedging their bets wanting vendors to bring those capabilities to the table. they are still sorting it out themselves. That is what I'm seeing.

OI: Could you talk a little about the industry in general and what you see. Will a standalone email service provider even exist 5 years from now?

I think from what I'm seeing, email service providers are being forced to add additional capability, what we were referring in the Influencers thread as an integrated approach primarily because of the way the playing field is being set by other players in the market and also being set by how brands are vetting their provider. they are looking beyond email, they want to see their provider provide these different capabilities even though they haven't really sorted it out themselves.

I think in terms of how are things going to shake out, I think it is really interesting besides Salesforce's acquisition of ExactTarget, you have Adobe's acquisition of Neolane and those acquirers doing something had been long rumored. I think we are only seeing the beginning of it frankly. I think those moves are going to force other players to re-evaluate what they thought they had and see if they are really prepared in face of these new competitors. Companies like IBM and SAP and Oracle and Terradata, companies that have done these acquisitions in the past are going to have to re-evaluate and say "what does this mean now? Are we really prepared? or do we need to respond to these things." How it is going to shake out in the end, who is going to be left standing independantly and who is going to get swallowed up is really a matter of speculation. I think the level of activity is only going to increase at this point because it is a big chess game the piece are moving.

OI: Anything I missed?

Not really.  The way that I couch the rebranding is that it is really just the beginning and it is a shoring up of who we already are with the name. I think what you are going to see going forward as far as partnership announcements and product are really going to reflect the new brand. So this is much more than just a name change. What you are going to see coming from us shortly is going to surprise a bunch of folks.  So I look forward to surprising everybody.

Last modified on Continue reading

On Saturday June 22nd, 2013 I had a vision.


My last vision was April 9th, 2008: the vision came to me between 72nd street and 59th street on the West Side Highway in New York City. I remember I was thinking about the fact that the first thing I read every morning is the New York Times Obituary section: I’m fascinated with how people have led their lives.


And suddenly, on that short section of highway in Manhattan, I had the vision: a Facebook-like place where families could archive and share memorabilia and remembrances of loved ones gone. No advertising, the site would maintain itself with tie-ins with pharmaceutical companies and florists. Your uncle died at 63 from cancer? What is the age range of people who died from cancer? How can you prevent it happening to you? The site would also have triggers that would let you know when someone with your last named died, or someone from your high school died, or from your home town. I saw descendants, a century from now, reading well wishes and remembrances by friends of the their great great grandparents. I came up with a domain name. 


By the time I passed 59th street, I couldn’t wait to get to work to see if the domain name that sprung from my head was available. It wasn’t, but of course….after the vision, the work starts. 


That night I was driving into my driveway on my way home from work when I got a call on my cell. A woman I’d never met was calling to tell me that my oldest friend, my roommate in college, had died of a heart attack the night before. Strangely, he had composed a list of people to contact in case of his death and I was number one or two on that list. The problem with Visions: they place themselves at the center of your world view and if the Vision is strong enough, your world begins to morph itself to accommodate it. More on this below.


Visions like this, if you are lucky enough to have them, are rare things. I spent the first half of my life pursuing the life of an artist - musician, painter, writer - so I had some experience with altered states from staring down a canvas and had a great deal of respect for all right brained activity. What separates entrepreneurs (and artists) from the other, sane section of the work a day world, that when we are afflicted with these visions, there is a deep burning desire to see them REALIZED! 


To illustrate: my first real vision happened in my later 30’s at a time when CD-Rom games like 7th Guest and Myst were popular. At the time I was a lowly salesman selling 3D Animation workstations to special effects houses. My job put me in the path of most of the computer games trade shows, so I would bump up against some of the major players in the industry all the time. Then I had a vision: Dreamland! A puzzle based video game based on Dante’s Inferno. 


The power of visions is that, unlike ideas, they come fully formed - of one piece - and that means they are much more powerful than a typical daydreaming session. My vision of Dreamland was such a powerful idea in my mind that people I talked to were just drawn to the idea. I ran into Matt Costello, the writer for 7th Guest and based on my enthusiasm agreed to help me, eventually introducing me to his agent and being on my board of advisors. Another person who lived in my apartment at the time was a scenic designer for the movies and he introduced me to Krisi Zea, an award winning production designer. I showed her a 5 second clip of some moody 3D trees on a barren landscape that I had talked the artists at the software company to make for me, and both she and our mutual friend were in. 


Weeks after the vision, I had quit my job, I had an agent, a team, my first company (Quartet), an office I rented above a real estate office, verbal interest from Microsoft to distribute this game that didn’t exist yet except in my head, and effects house Digital Domain all set to do the production.


Eventually it failed but not because of the vision: somebody had a bigger vision. Dreamworks had just formed. Our final meeting with Microsoft was set to take place in Redmond where we were expecting to get initial funding. Our meeting was postponed because Spielberg, Geffen, and Katzenberg took our slot! At the end of their meeting, Microsoft had agreed to shut down their gaming division in exchange for being the sole distributor of Dreamworks Games: games, like mine, that didn’t exist yet. 


Yet the power of Vision didn’t go away: it morphed. The fact that I was approaching 40 with 2 small children, a wife, and a house mortgage didn’t affect my decision to keep going. The end of DreamLand and Quartet drove me to get the Vision REALIZED some other way. 3D on the Web in the form of an open source technology called Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML). I started writing about VRML and creating games on the Web instead of on a CD. Eventually I was one of the leading tech writers on VRML which prompted SGI, who at the time was heavily invested in VRML, to hire me as their VRML evangelist. 


My first order of business: I developed small 12k VRML Web banner ads. And with a group of similar minded technology companies from Macromedia, Intel, and Unicast, we introduced the world to Rich Media Advertising. The Vision was not the same Vision I had when I was dreaming of creating the next Myst, but it was the power of that initial inspiration that changed my life forever.


In retrospect I feel the development of Rich Media in Web advertising was the realization of that Vision I had a few years before. The vision morphed from a CD-Rom game project that would have probably died on the vine (the computer game industry imploded that year and took years to recover) but instead I was part of the ground floor of a brand new industry: The Web and Rich Media Advertising.


Stay tuned for Part Two of Visions.

Last modified on Continue reading

It has been an interesting few weeks at Only Influencers headquarters.

First,  Only Influencers was listed by as one of the 25 Best Places to learn about Email Marketing: 25 Experts To Learn About Small Business Email Marketing

I was also personally listed as 50 Marketing Leaders Over 50 You Should Know which will also be featured in the May edition of CMO Magazine. 

And finally, Simms Jenkins mentioned Only Influencers in his article the Future of New Inbox: "New email-focused business models lead to where email is going. The daily deal companies have generated further awareness for email's clout, but companies like LiveIntent, Movable Ink, Only Influencers, and dozens of hyper-focused agencies have emerged to capitalize on email's staying power as the stickiest of all web apps, plus the dynamic new nature of how consumers and businesses consume their email and interact with their inbox.


Special thanks to everyone who mentioned us. 

Last modified on Continue reading

(Featured Topics on Only Influencers)

Ben Bloom (Digital Strategist, Wunderman):


My argument, featured in "gloves off" for DM news , is that no network is intrinsically important, and to my mind Instagram's acquisition by Facebook strengthens that idea. What do you think? Is tumblr's acquisition of Pinterest around the corner?

If you would like to weigh in on the site, please do, but I would love to hear what you all think. (see Article Here)

Gretchen Scheiman (Marketing Strategy Consultant):


Nice Ben, thanks for sharing.

There are two aspects to this question - do we think photo sharing as an activity separate from other social sharing is unlikely to be self-sustaining, and do we think Pinterest itself has not been designed with enough competitive advantages to forestall competition from moving in quickly.

I suspect that photo sharing (outside of ones' own pics) is - like video - complex enough that it deserves its own space. I can't imagine an integrated user experience with either FB or Tumblr that would work as elegantly. So I'd have to say that photo-sharing as a separate utility looks like it is here to stay.

As for the second question - while I think that Pinterest in some ways is a negative for businesses (specifically its policies around link/affiliate stuff), I actually like the business model overall. They deserve kudos for actually having a business model this early on - let's face it, that's a bit of an anomaly in the social space. It's quite refreshing. I'm sure Pinterest has some growth and revisions ahead of it, and I'm not sure it's well-protected against competitors, but it does seem to have enough legs to make it a worthwhile investment for some companies right now. Anthropologie is an early adopter that seems ideally suited given the target demographics of their audience.

Which gives Pinterest another face: ultra-relevant affiliate promotions. Could Pinterest be a catalyst for consumers to create a sort of micro-affiliate market, on a far greater scale than we've seen so far? Is Pinterest really a combination of FB/Etsy or FB/eBay?

So while Pinterest may go the way of MySpace, it feels a bit more like Twitter right now. And with more potential and a better business model than that company.

My 2 cents to help start the dialogue - I'd like to hear others weigh in on this topic too.

Andy Goldman (Principal BRAND+MEDIA+TECHNOLOGY):


Pinterest is enabling something that other site services and networked platforms have not, communal expression through photos. To date this has been attempted only by brand-owned platforms with very little sharing capabilities (KODAK Gallery, Snapfish, etc.).

People like to express themselves. They like to do so with varied creative techniques. Photo and picture sharing combined with a communal 'voting' or approval technique like Pinterest provides a unique media for consumers to engage with. It's not going anywhere too fast, is my bet, in its 'intrinsic networked form.'

It may be acquired, or folded into, something new. That's for sure. Because without the piggyback effect of a broad social network that exists for more than to connect consumers to their visual pinups, I do believe Pinterest begins to fall off - it just won't be FOTM (flavor of the month) at some point.

However, I might see a Google acquisition (G turbo business plan?) before I'd see Tumblr. Or really interesting ... Twitter Pinterest? That would fundamentally change how visual sharing works ... will be interesting.

Loren McDonald (VP, Industry Relations, Silverpop):

No idea if Pinterest is "just a passing fad" - but it apparently is a fast-growing least according to Experian Hitwise, it is now the 3rd largest "social network" in the US having passed LinkedIn and Google+ - based on monthly site visits -Pinterest Now No. 3 US Social Network, Surpasses Linkedin

In my view, Facebook may have won the battle for the ubiquitous social network, but we've entered the era of there being room for thousands of social networks to succeed in niche areas.

Arien Gessner:


I think Pinterest is a flood of copyright lawsuits waiting to happen. I wouldn’t be surprised to find the percentage of photos pinned by people with ownership rights to be in the single digits. Am I the only one that sees this as a major roadblock for Pinterest’s longevity?

Andy Goldman:


Arien, it might come to pass with respect to commercial rights, given that some businesses are claiming transactions off of Pinterest engagement, but I don't know that they company is liable for the sharing of imagery any more so than Getty images if I went to the site, right-clicked an image, and put it on my web site.

Now, rights management has come up alot with Pinterest, and I'm no expert, but I'm thinking that unless there is a transaction that Pinterest is somehow taking a piece of, it will be some time before they are specifically liable for what others do with images through their technology.

That's a gut feeling from a non-legal expert in the field. But if you look at how long it's taken(ing) for digital rights management standards to form along content that is known to have monetary value (i.e. music), one might think it'll be some time before it matures into solid arguments in this case. Or maybe not.

Loren McDonald:


A post from the Electronic Frontier Foundation on Pinterest's Terms of Service...which just changed on April 6. Pinterest's Pernicious Terms of Service

Ben Bloom:


On the rights issues:

Pinterest apparently tested one approach to generating $ from traffic to retailers, and stopped just before a blogger posted a story which created its own firestorm in Feb.

Pinterest adds disclosure about how they (might) make money. Conversations with Pinterest CEO.

While as Loren notes, pinterest updated their TOS to reflect such a possibility for the future, the monetization (via data sharing, CPA deals, affiliate links, or whatever) of the shared image make Pinterest's future appear, to me, similar to YouTube. The company will be sued, acquired- and then settle out of court for $$$.

Karen Talavera (Principal, Synchronicity Marketing):


I think like MySpace was eclipsed by Facebook, Pinterest itself could be eclipsed (or acquired) so whether they specifically will survive I don't know. I don't think the concept, however, of a visual/graphic social sharing site is a passing fad.

I think the concept IS sustainable and most likely if Pinterest doesn't evolve or build on it, someone else will (or as I mentioned will just buy them first). Because Pinterest was the first to offer/master virtual pin-boarding/scrapbooking/whatever maybe they'll be able to become entrenched enough and quickly leverage their position to stay the frontrunner – if that's what the founders want. Otherwise I suspect they'll sell.

I think there's a lot to be said for the "social scrapbooking" concept specifically around the idea of showing vs telling. Facebook, FourSquare, Twitter, LinkedIn are all so much about telling – chat, conversation, announcement, soundbite, status. But people LOVE the show as well, and as the saying goes, a picture can speak a thousand words.

There's something about a visually-rich, text-light social experience I find deeper and more satisfying than the alternatives. That said, I think Pinterest will remain niched toward users/brands/interests that skew toward and benefit from "show" at least as much as or more than "tell". So sure, the cooking and wedding planning and home décor will prevail, but it there's also the celebrity factor (neat to see what celebrities like, use and share), the expert factor (what your favorite author, chef, designer or life coach is doing) and the topical-community factor (easier to share prom dress ideas/photos here or places not to miss in say, Istanbul, than on other platforms) to consider.

I love how brands that are a natural fit are using it – like Horchow – and it gives them more specialized real estate to "show" than either a print catalog or their website – both of which are built more to sell than act like an interior design service.

Tobias Schremmer (Sales Director, MarketingProfs):


Karen, great thought process on all of this…thank you.

I’ve had versions of these same ideas floating around in my mind for months, but your write-up crystallized it better than I could have. For me, the turning point (if that’s the right phrase) from ‘telling’ to ‘showing’ was Instagram. I had soured on Facebook over 2 years ago, to this day I rarely go on it. Same with FourSquare – it just got old really fast, felt like a rat pecking the bar for a fresh food pellet for every check-in.

Then Instagram came along and immediately it was awesome: a photo and a few words or hash tags is just extremely compelling. And I’m not even a “visual” person as much as other people are. IG is in my shortlist of iPhone To-Do’s first thing every morning (with checking email and catching up on Words with Friends). One key to both Instagram and Pinterest is the ability to so effortlessly explore & discover other content. And even when it comes to “likes” (and follows and comments) – I’ll trade one random-stranger-from-Japan’s Like on IG or Pinterest for 5 friends Liking a FB post or 10 new Twitter followers/retweets.

Also, not mentioned enough is that every new social channel like Pinterest means another fresh wave of fodder for MarketingProfs (et al)!

Loren McDonald:


One thing that continues to confound me about a lot of the conversations about social networks/channels/tools on this and the Email list is that there is often an assumption that for something to be viable and valuable - it has to be ubiquitous and everyone must like it.

Foursquare and checkins won't succeed unless there is broad adoption (but I can still have fun getting more points than you) - but not everything will have to beat Facebook or have 1 billion users to survive. Just ask Bill McCloskey. I think it is OK that you love Instagram and I love Foursquare...but not the other way around.

©Copyright 2012, Only Influencers
Last modified on Continue reading
Did you miss yesterday's 411: Here it is again. Get it every week in your inbox by subscribing to the Only Influencers 411 newsletter. All the news you need to read plus Jobs, Meetups, and Discussons for the digital community.
Last modified on Continue reading

The Oceans 11 of Email Marketing courtsey of Ryan Phelan; how many do YOU know!

Last modified on Continue reading
Social Media Banner Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
Only Influencers. A private, invitation-only network for digital marketers.
Today's 411
September 7, 2011
Moderator's note

The OI Pins are in and I'll be starting to send out this week.

September is Lurkers Month: any influencer who posts for the first time will receive a free Only Influencers Coffee Mug!

Meetups: Those in the Northern California area are invited to invite their peers to the Sunnyvale Meetup next week. Return Path will sponsor Beer, Wine, and BBQ at their headquarters.

Chicago Meetup is on the 21st. And we just announced the next Atlanta Meetup on the 27th. Click on the links below to RSVP: open to members and non-members.

MarketingSherpa is looking for speakers for the 2012 Email Summit. If you are interested CLICK HERE to get to the submission form. The want case studies directly from Brands.

LiveIntent is looking for an Executive Assistant. Not really an Influencer job but if you know anyone who knows the usual clerical software (Excel, Word, Salesforce, etc) and wants the job have them contact Dave Hendricks at

Simms Jenkinn's team has released a new White Paper: Email Acquistion 2.0. Click on the link to get it. 

New Influencers who have joined in the last week:

Persia Tatar: Founder, Social Media Society
Adam Cooke: Director of Digital Strategy,  GarageFly
Angel Evan: Managing Partner, The Dark Matter
Scott Townsend: Marketing Manager,  Urban Airship
Niels van Meerte Janse: Manager of Product Development, Measuremail

Upcoming Only Influencers Meetups

Sunnyvale Meetup sponsored by Return Path

location: Sunnyvale, CA (click on link for details)
date/time: 9-15-11 / 5:00pm

Atlanta Meetup

location: Atlanta, GA (click on link for details)
date/time: 9-27-11 / 5:00pm

Chicago Meetup sponsored by AlCHEMYWOrx

location: Chicago, IL (click on link for details)
date/time: 9-21-11 / time to be determined

Best Influencers Discussions (Members Only)

Are Marketers Really That far off in predicting consumer sentiment towards mobile advertising

TOnly Mobile kicks off with some great discussions on consumer perception of mobile advertising.

Mobile shopping: more buzz than buy

Only Mobile reacts to a recent HuffingtonPost article that questions the effectiveness of mobile advertising.

Do you think text versions of emails are still important?

Only Email debates the need for text versions of HTML emails?

LTV and Predictions

Only Email discusses Influencer Jaffer Ali's recent article on the possibilities of predicting behavior

All the news worth reading

Eight Steps to good mobile email design

Neil Berman shares some good tips on optimizing for mobile.
topic: Mobile
Rating: Worthwhile

do you know why you are sending that marketing email?

Mike Hotz wants to know: what are you trying to accomplish.
topic: Email
Rating: Worthwhile

Is Email getting the credit (budget) it deserves

The DMA's Email Marketing Blog wants to know if email is getting its slice of the pie. 
topic: Email
Rating: Worthwhile

Ralph Lauren takes over the times ipad app, reminds us what a 'sponsor' does

Is there anyone who doesn't know you can get around the NY Times paypal by just switching to "private browsing"? Maybe here is a reason to actually pay for it.
topic: Mobile
Rating: Worthwhile

triggered email messaging in five easy steps

Behaviorally triggered email campaigns have a 30% higher open and clickthrough rate.
topic: Email
Rating: Worthwhile

Database guru calls 'bs' on lifetime value detractors

Arthur Hughes takes on our own Influencer Chris Donald. Hey, them's fighting words. We'll have to have a tag team match and add Jaffer.
topic: Email
Rating: Must read

iab takes stab at standardizing rich mobile ads?

Long time since I've heard anything out of the IAB.
topic: Mobile
Rating: Worthwhile

Email and CPG Brand

Influencer Gretchen Scheiman says the further from the sale you measure, the less able are to predict the outcome.
topic: Email
Rating: Worthwhile

job postings ( 3 )

Sr. Manager Email MarketinG

Company Name: Vente-Privee
location: New York, NY
posting date: 09-7-2011

Email Strategy and deliverability manager

Company Name: Urban Daddy
location: New York, NY
posting date: 09-7-2011

Mobile Marketing Manager

Company Name: Capital One
location: McLean, VA
posting date: 09-07-2011
Serious about social media?

© 2011 Only Influencers. All Rights Reserved.

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
Last modified on Continue reading
Social Media Banner Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
Only Influencers. A private, invitation-only network for digital marketers.
Today's 411
This Week: August 31 2011
Moderator's note
Welcome to the Hurricane Irene edition of the OI Newsletter.

September is Lurkers Month: any influencer who posts for the first time will receive a free Only Influencers Coffee Mug!

We have a new entrepreneur in the group: Influencer DJ Waldow has decided to take the plunge and has launched his own agency: Waldow Social! Congratulations DJ!

Are you near a Chick-fil-a?  You can get a free breakfast entree thanks to Influencer Simms Jenkins and Brightwave Marketing who created the email promotion. Click Here

Sunnyvale and Chicago Meetups so far in September. Eat BBQ at the Return Path office in Sunnyvale, and see Dela Quist at the Chicago Meetup: make sure to click on the link to RSVP. Members and Non-members invited.

From Influencer Brian Cavoli: "If any of you will be in Boston for the FutureM conference next month, you are invited to our TACOPOCALYPSE party. Chow down on a dozen types of tacos and hot sauces and mingle with other OIs and FutureM attendees. The party is Weds night Sept 14 at the Rattlesnake Bar and Grill on 382 Boylston St in Boston.  If you can make it, reserve your free ticket for the party at or get a pass for the entire conference at"

New Influencers who have joined in the last week:
Krista Chism: consultant, Clio Communications
Kim Anderson: North American Email Manager, Intela
Skip Fidura: Client Services Director, dotDigital Group
Sara Ezrin: Senior Director, Strategic Services, Experian CheetahMail
Marc Haseltine: Email Marketing Manager, National Geographic

Upcoming Only Influencers Meetups

Sunnyvale Meetup sponsored by Return Path

location: Sunnyvale, CA (click on link for details)
date/time: 9-15-11 / 5:00pm

Chicago Meetup sponsored by AlCHEMYWOrx

location: Chicago, IL (click on link for details)
date/time: 9-21-11 / time to be determined

Best Influencer Discussions (Members Only)

Who Uses Folders and Filters

The Influencers debate the use of Folders and Filters to organize the Inbox.

Your Email Bucket list

The Influencers dream about all the things they'd like to see in the email industry.

expanding the Mime

Does the industry need to expand the MIME (Multipurpose internet Mail Extension) to include things like mobile?

How to get the lurkers engaged

Influencers debate on the best way to get the OI lurkers posting. My answer: give first time posters and OI coffee mug.

All the news worth reading

What You Missed in 2011 by Influencer George Bilbrey

A Roundup of the best email stories from 2011
topic: Email
Rating: Worthwhile

14 Ways remove the attention barriers in your email marketing by Influencer Mark Brownlow

What are the obstacles preventing people from engaging with your campaign.
topic: Email
Rating: Worthwhile

The 7 Essential Elements of Effective social media marketing

Guess what: your audience doesn't want an unedited version of the "real" you.
topic: Social Media
Rating: Worthwhile

the Crowded Inbox  by Influencer Dennis Dayman

Dennis talks about Hotmail Sweep, Gmail Priority Inbox, OtherInbox.
topic: Email
Rating: Must read

Forrester: Spending on interactive marketing to skyrocket

Advertisers to spend $77 billion on interactive marketing by 2016
topic: Email, Social, Mobile
Rating: Worthwhile

Mobile Ad Networks Scramble to save biz

Apple phases out ability for marketers to link actions across multiple devices threatening the future of mobile ad market.
topic: Mobile
Rating: Must read

Groupon Traffic Tumbles - is Deal Fatique to Blame?

Daily Deals Done
topic: Email
Rating: Worthwhile

Why they stopped using foursquare

Foursquare's 15 minutes is about up.
topic: Social Media
Rating: Worthwhile

What Teens think of email

95% of teens who follow a company on Facebook also subscribe to their email newsletter
topic: Email
Rating: Worthwhile

The State of the State for email and social by Influencer Loren McDonald

Loren reports from the Social Media Summit
topic: Social Media
Rating: Worthwhile

Back to Basics; Analysing Email Campaign Results

Things retailers need to understand before jumping into Mobile
topic: Mobile
Rating: Must Read

job postings ( 10 )

Digital Services Production Support Specialist (supplied by OI member)

Company Name: Aprimo
location: Indianapolis, IN
posting date: 08-30-2011

Email Marketing Strategist (Supplied by OI Member)

Company Name: Bronto
location: Durham, NC
posting date: 08-150-2011

Mobile Product Marketing Manager

Company Name: JP Morgan Chase
location: San Francisco, CA
posting date: 08-30-2011

Senior Mobile Marketing Manager

Company Name:The College Board
location: New York, NY
posting date: 08-15-2011

Director, Mobile Marketing

Company Name: Omnicom
location: New York, NY and Chicago
posting date: 08-30-2011

Director Digital Marketing

Company Name: Mattel
location: El Segundo, CA
posting date: 08-30-2011

VP Social Media and Digital Marketing Strategist

Company Name: MS&L
location: New York, NY
posting date: 08-30-2011

Senior Director Global Email  Marketing

Company Name: Expedia
location: Bellevue, WA
posting date: 08-30-2011

Senior Manager Email Marketing

Company Name: Williams-Sonoma
location: San Francisco, CA
posting date: 08-15-2011

Email Marketing Guru

Company Name: Merkle
location: New York, NY
posting date: 08-30-2011
Serious about social media?

© 2011 Only Influencers. All Rights Reserved.

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
Last modified on Continue reading

Influencers! Here is today's 411

Last modified on Continue reading