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Marketing Using Blogs in the Portland Business Journal

The Business Journal in Portland, Oregon dated April 29, 2005, has a special section called The Marketing Industry. Today there were two articles about using blogs in marketing. The first, Portlanders turn to blogs as cheap marketing tools by Jodi Helmer, focuses on the Bev and Mike Landfair. In order to boost Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery, the “bricks and mortar” business, the Landfairs started an online store Landfair Furniture Annex and are using a new marketing tool, a blog, Landfair Furniture, to drive traffic to the online store and boost awareness of the Landfair Furniture Gallery.

The Landfairs are among a handful of locals pioneering the use of blogs as business marketing tools. Those pioneers are finding that blogs – online journals that are updated regularly – are easy to establish and inexpensive to maintain, and they have the potential to reach a large customer base.

Besides the Landfairs, Charles and Jennifer Turner, brokers with Prudential NW Properties, added a blog as an extension of their web marketing. “We saw a blog as another avenue of marketing ourselves,” says Charles Turner.
Portland lawyer Charles R Schrader uses a blog to reinforce his reputation as an expert in construction labor law.

The blog averages 356 hits per day and also appears as the No. 1 ranked werb site on Yahoo…for the search term “construction labor law”.

The second article, Blogs restore personal element to marketing by Toby Bloomberg, President of Diva Marketing.

In a world that spins too fast to even know your next-door neighbor, blogs help re-create the “corner grocery store relationship” that even small businesses lost with the onset of mass marketing strategies.

Bloomberg avers that:

Blogs build brands through ongoing natural conversations.

Blogs increase credibility.

Blogs provide content for traditional Web sites by linking to the blog. (She uses the Landfairs to support this point.)

Two excellent articles and we are proud to be used as examples. Get your copy at the newstand or look online, some time next week at The Business Journal.

AIG, Adjustments Mount!

From the WSJ Online, AIG Will Delay Filing Again as Questions
Mount on Accounting

One new area under review involves AIG moving money into and out of hedge funds, in ways that may have been intended to burnish its quarterly reports, a person familiar with the matter said.

Another person familiar with the matter said the expected impact on the company’s book value has risen to between $2.5 billion and $2.8 billion, roughly $1 billion higher than its previous top estimate on March 30. That would equate to about 3% of the giant insurer’s value.

Ted and Rhoda Fink

If you get a chance, read the story of Ted Fink in the WSJ Online, who was burned in a farm accident over 93% of his body. Generally, those who suffer burns over 70% of their bodies don’t make it. His wife, Rhoda, had a choice to make, let him be and let him die or use a new technology of artificial skin that may save Ted’s life, but at what cost to the quality of both their lives? Five years later and 20 operations, Ted is alive and horribly disfigured. He has been able with the help of his son to get back to farming and have his grand child sit on his lap. He can’t lay flat in bed, but he can feed himself and get around with a walker.

Did his wife make the right decision five years ago? “You can’t condemn someone for making choices,” he says. “You make them and you don’t know if they’re good or bad. It’s done and you hope for the best. I can’t begin to put myself in her shoes.”

Life is so precious to some, regardless of the obstacles. What a wonderful attitude he has.

The Bush Press Conference 4-28-2005

Some thoughts: Means testing of Social Security benefits? My guess would be that Democrats would be against it.

Regarding Bush’s defense of personal accounts, he did great, best yet. After all, who could be opposed to the voluntary private account? Who could be opposed to the spousal benefits of a private account that can be passed on to the surviving spouse?

Regarding North Korea, we have much greater leverage with five countries talking to N. Korea than the bi-lateral talks that Kerry proposed.

If N. Korea has nuclear weapons and acquires the ability to deliver those weapons upon the West Coast, I darn sure want a system in place that could shoot them down. Those opposed can pooh, pooh a defense system like that all they want, but I live in Portland and I want to be protected if possible.

Social Security: US vs Chile

I haven’t commented on the Social Security debate in awhile, because a) there is a problem, every one knows it! b) how could any proper thinking person object to a private retirement account. To emphasize the point, the NYT on April 26, had The Proof’s in the Pension by John Tierney.

In 1981, Chile, in response to its social security system going broke, privatised its social security. The US about the same time in response to the same pressures, chose to raise taxes and cut benefits. Tierney visited his old college friend in Chile and compared plans.

After comparing our relative payments to our pension systems (since salaries are higher in America, I had contributed more), we extrapolated what would have happened if I’d put my money into Pablo’s mutual fund instead of the Social Security trust fund. We came up with three projections for my old age, each one offering a pension that, like Social Security’s, would be indexed to compensate for inflation:

(1) Retire in 10 years, at age 62, with an annual pension of $55,000. That would be more than triple the $18,000 I can expect from Social Security at that age.

(2) Retire at age 65 with an annual pension of $70,000. That would be almost triple the $25,000 pension promised by Social Security starting a year later, at age 66.

(3)Retire at age 65 with an annual pension of $53,000 and a one-time cash payment of $223,000.

There should be NO debate. We are a capitalist country. Capitalists champion private vs public solutions to problems. It is amazing that other countries without our traditions can show us the way and remind us to be Capitalists.

More Fannie Mae

From the Washington Post this evening, More Trouble May Be Found at Fannie Mae

The accounting problems that have rocked Fannie Mae may run even deeper, the federal regulator overseeing the mortgage giant suggested Tuesday.

Uncertainty created by the accounting scandal at the biggest U.S. buyer of home mortgages has the potential of spilling into the housing industry and making mortgages less available for homebuyers, Armando Falcon said in an Associated Press interview.

hubris \HYOO-bruhs\, noun: Overbearing pride or presumption.

Two articles today just amaze me at the hubris of the US Government. First I read in arstechnica, Uncle Sam wants you… to explain this $50 cash deposit

…thanks to the PATRIOT act, banks are spending billions on highly sophisticated, government-mandated anti-money laundering (AML) software that will track every last transaction of every last customer in order to build up individual customer profiles and look for “suspicious” activity. And when they find some suspicious activity, they’re going to want an explanation out of you, regardless of whether or not you fit any sort of terrorist profile.

Then, in Front Page Magazine, Washington Finally Gets It on Radical Islam by Daniel Pipes. The US Government has decided that there are good Muslims who are part of the “religion of peace” and bad Muslims who are part of the “religion of peace” and dedicated to terrorist activitities. The US Government has decided to spend our money fertilizing the good Muslims and our money dehydrating the bad Muslims. Right now the tab is $21 Billion of our money. Nevermind, that we have a war on drugs, but can’t keep drugs out of prisons. Nevermind that we can’t keep illegals from crossing our borders. Nevermind, that we can’t educate our own kids. Now we have the arrogance to think we can meddle further in mid-east religion.

Now some, like Nouriel Roubini, think one solution to our currency problem is spending controls and tax increases! The solution to all of our problems seems to be less US Government.

New Science Regarding Golf

For you golfers, WSJ Online has an excellent article on the technology affecting the game of golf, How Science Can Improve Your Golf Game (by subscription only). The article covers the latest info about the difference between great putters and naifs: the difference in where you focus as you strike the ball.

Practice: scientists have found the best way to practice and have found the brain needs time to process the information.

Scientists have come up with grasses for fairways that can be cut to 3/8 of an inch and play like greens.

New technology of ball design and the reason for dimples. Dimples create airflow that has less drag and thus more distance.

And finally, advice for me: New scientific advice on what works best to cure the slice.

I may just have to take up the game again! While on golf, the WSJ also has information about one of the most exclusive golf courses, Morefar, the course owned by Starr Corp. of AIG.

Amelia’s Back

If you missed them at Mississippi Studios or Weiden & Kennedy, try April 30th, Amelia, Portland’s Best Band, playing at Doug Fir. Doors open at 8:00, Show at 9:00. This is the CD release party for Por Avion, the group’s new CD, Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 day of show.

I love this band and have practically worn the invisible grooves off my CD of After All

AIG, Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Yesterday, it was announced that the haircut to book value of $1.77 Billion might not adequately reflect the adjustments that will take place at AIG (although some say it won’t be much more). Today, New AIG Report Raises More Issues With Accounting, the WSJ is reporting

A report by lawyers for American International Group Inc. and its board raises serious questions about the integrity of AIG’s financial-reporting systems, including checks and balances in the accounting process at the behemoth insurer, according to people knowledgeable about the matter

Separately, regulators are scrutinizing whether AIG in the early to mid 1990s deliberately undercounted workers’ compensation premiums it collected from corporate customers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Such undercounting would have had the effect of reducing the amount AIG paid into a state workers’ compensation fund, potentially totaling tens of millions of dollars over the years, according to people familiar with the matter.

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