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Matt Mullin
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Matt Mullin's posts

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The Verge has quickly become a go-to source for tech.

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Worth the read.
Amazon recommendations often fall flat, according to Jellybooks founder Andrew Rhomberg. It’s because “people who bought this item also bought…” method is too impersonal, too list-based, and simply leads to the most popular books in a category.

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"You won't stop using Internet Explorer 6"

WonderTonic, at it again.

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These are not the metrics you’re looking for…

(Funny side note: this started as tweet, was almost a G+ post, but it got too long so I posted it on my blog instead. Fragmentation!)

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Last night I wrote this long post about ebook marketing, but at the end it morphed into a question that I've had in the back of my head for awhile now: what new positions does every book publisher need these days? Here, I speculate that you need a metadata optimization person in your marketing department. Someone who is constantly testing phrases in your SEM, modifying metadata based on genre, author type, audience type, etc., and experimenting with your social media. Let that person have a budget and some freedom and let them roll out new lessons to your entire team. I think it's a good investment. I hope I'm not the only one who does.

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Jim knocks it out the park again. It's one of my favorite daily columns. If you're like me and more likely to read it over email than Google+, you can subscribe here:
Pack In, Pack Out?

There's a credo among hikers: Pack in, pack out. It means whatever you take into the woods, you should take out with you.

I've only heard about this saying. I don't even like to sit outside at restaurants.

But does (or should) this principle apply to the Internet-bound as well. The Internet is filling up with crap, so do we have an obligation to delete the crap we're not using anymore? I thought about this over the weekend as I re-routed some old domains to new ones and deleted by FriendFeed account. I deleted my MySpace account just this morning, and if you don't like the New Facebook you should go take a look at the New MySpace. You'll feel a whole lot better.

While I was deleting these accounts, I wondered whether if it was really necessary, or (worse) if I was somehow corrupting the archaeological record. I can imagine someone taking that position. Pack in, leave in, let future generations sort it out -- or at least post endlessly about that Space Jam site and its equivalents.

It occurred to me to do all this deleting in the first place as a matter of identity hygiene. I had an old bio coming up on the first page of Google, and I wanted it gone. I get some writing work and other opportunities from the web. I want people to find the up-to-date me.

But Google seems to be getting better and better at surfacing this up-to-date me, even with old profiles out there. I rarely use email folders anymore, since search will bring up what I want, and I never delete emails. So why would I delete previous selves if I can be confident everyone will find the right one?

I can think of two reasons. The first is that deleting this old data will enhance my privacy -- a reason particularly relevant at the moment as we all wait for a first peek at our Facebook biographies. The other is that it's rude to leave crap lying around, even if it's virtual crap. Wired 's Mr. Know-It-All, Brendan Koerner, tackled this in the September issue, when he advised a letter-writer to take down his out-of-date wedding site rather than "be that guy."

The idea that our data -- our prized, personal data -- might be trash ("My shit is stuff, but your stuff is shit," as George Carlin observed) is obvious but often overlooked, it seems. Proponents of both privacy and the Singularity believe everything lasts forever on the web. The former think this is dangerous while the latter think it might be the key to Eternal Life.

What neither consider is that it might just be annoying, like trudging through a wooded trail clogged with Dixie cups.

" Plus Ça Change" is a daily column on (but rarely about) Google+. For archives, RSS, and email subscriptions visit .

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Correct Guy is correct.
"B&N said that while traditional physical book sales declined during the quarter, the stores posted large increases in sales of the Nook product line and the toys & games segment."

Repeat after me: Barnes & Noble is NOT Borders.

One of the most frustrating aspects of running Digital Book World last year was dealing with the various loudmouth, know-nothing pundits who drooled over every new shiny object while spitting on the graves of every legacy business related to publishing. From the iPad to enhanced ebooks to [insert game-changer du jour], if it was new, it was AWESOME!!!!

Barnes & Noble was one of the primary legacy businesses that were doomed by all accounts, rarely on the basis of any specific hard evidence, but usually because Borders was on the brink (and had been for years) and some pundits fell in love with ebooks and their personal experiences were all the anecdotal evidence they needed. I remember at the end of a DBW Roundtable last year, discussing "The Amazon Effect" (, while everyone was all atwitter about Amazon, Apple & Google, I picked B&N as the company most likely to make a big splash by the end of the year, and from their record holiday sales to this latest announcement, they've been proving the pundits wrong where it counts: results.

Meanwhile, Amazon is still chugging along, making money on physical and digital goods, and Apple and Google scramble over the e-crumbs in a battle for third place and meaningful impact.

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So last night I wrote a little bit about three companies that I think are doing fun, shareable, and interesting social media marketing in book publishing. It's not meant to be comprehensive, but I'm curious as to why certain pubs, like Norton or AA Knopf or Greywolf, are so followed on some networks while others are not.

On a side note, I keep seeing on twitter that many folks don't like cross-posting across social networks. Can't say I agree on that one - at least for the last few posts I've done, Google+ has been my comments section. I hate having a comments section on my tumblr (disqus is ugly yall.) and Google+ works great.

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Jim's column is just the best.
Don DeLillo's Last Day

You always hear that Don DeLillo worked in advertising before he became a writer, but you never hear if he was any good at it—or about what happened on his last day. Did he give the appropriate notice? Did the office manager circulate a card in a manila envelope with “For Don DeLillo” written on the tab, and if so, what was the title of the highest ranking company official who signed it?

What did they write?

Was there an exit interview during which Don DeLillo explained how the emptiness of consumer culture—which he had just been promoting earlier that day—would inform his future work? Could we see that, please?

Was there an awkward send-off party in the office kitchen? How many people were there? Was Don DeLillo embarassed? Was there cake? Cupcakes? Whiskey? (This was a very long time ago.) Did they go out for drinks after Don DeLillo’s last day in advertising? What did Don DeLillo order?

What did he do when he got home? And the next day? Did he sleep in? And the day afer that?

I ask only because I guess we’d like to think that Don DeLillo was either phenomenally good at writing advertising (at Ogilvy & Mather, for Sears) or incredibly bad at it, but for virtuous reasons. He was too good and too smart for advertising. He could see right through it.

But what if we was just plain bad at it, and not in an interesting way? Imagine that his copy was—far from being too subtle, complex, or clever—was too clumsy, jokey, and broad. Not ironically or due to any lack of interest. Imagine, if you will, that despite the persistent and earnest application of whatever creative talents Don DeLillo possessed, he was the corniest, schlockiest copywriter in the history of advertising.

How would that make you feel about Don DeLillo? About the nature of talent?


["Plus Ça Change" is a daily column that appears on Google+. Today's column has been repurposed from an earlier post. To receive "Plus Ça Change" via email, weekday mornings at 10am, sign up here: ]

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Do you want to see a record of +1s for people in your Stream?

+1s are many things: a way to emulate "Likes," another way to record your search history on Google, and a branding tool. Thinking earnestly, they can be a great way to establish a "curated" collection of links for your followers, similar to the snapshot of my RSS feed for digital + publishing + media that I recently posted here:

(I like to see them - for example +Tim O'Reilly. However, since many websites don't have a +1 button, it's not pleasant to have to go back and find the URL in Google in order to +1 it.)

Many people haven't enabled their +1s to be public. Here's how you do it.
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