Wednesday, August 29, 2007


"Why did you come here?" ~ A question posed by the Manager of Travel Charme Kurhaus, Binz, Germany.
We next drove from Hamburg to Binz. The trek was 4 to 5 hours. It was a nice drive, full of green fields and giant windmills.

"Windmills Daddy", was the shout of the day.

To be specific they are actually 3 bladed wind turbines turning wind energy into electricity. Although this type of wind power only currently produces just over 1% of world-wide electricity use it does account for approximately 7% in Germany.

If the U.S. was not so in bed with the big oil companies we could be harnessing much more of this power... but I digress.

We cruised northeast on the Autobahn speeding through the former East Germany. Not much traffic could be found nor were there many places to stop for a bite to eat or to get gas... just beautiful countryside.

Did I mention this was our second rental car? The first was too small. Actually the car was a fine luxury Volvo but our luggage wouldn't fit. So back to the Avis desk we went, this time for a Volkswagen station wagon.

Our first goal was to find the Baltic coast city of Strahlbrode and catch a ferry to the Island of Rügen.

Sounds easy, right?

Well... the problem is that most of these roads are new, and as such, they are not on many of the maps just yet. So... we are looking for a proposed road... with no route number associated with it nor an exit number. Ugh... good times.

In the States we take for granted how recent the reunification of Germany actually was... here it affects all German life every day. From the a rising inflation, and corresponding rise of the Eruo, to the German Federal deficit that needs to build infrastructure in the East now rather than the West.

Let alone keep the maps updated.

Nonetheless we find the city, and the ferry after only one wrong turn. My son is thrilled... a boat that carries cars. "It must be the strongest boat in the world", he screams over the engines. So we check off on our list... Planes, Trains, Automobiles... and now boats!

Rügen is Germany's largest island located in the the upper most North coast of the country bordering the Baltic Sea. The island has many popular seaside resorts along the eastern coast, which is where we are headed, as well as two large national parks. The island is also famous for it's white "chalk" cliffs.

A wonderful 30 minute drive down tree covered roads, and some long bumpy stretches of cobblestones... and we arrive in our destination city of Binz. But wait? What's the address?

That's right. We didn't have an address for the hotel... how could this happen?

Easy. We've been just too busy... too many other details to keep track of, too much luggage and too many kids.

Not to worry... I'm from California and I knew the resort was on the beach... heck, I can find a beach anywhere!

AND no less than 5 minutes later with no wrong turns we arrive at the Travel Charme Kurhaus Binz. We pull in the drive way, ring the buzzer at the gate... and a voice greets us, "Welcome to Binz, Mr. Palmer, please drive in."


Wow, nice place. I knew it would be pretty from the pictures I saw online so I booked it with a blind-eye to costs. Surprised? For those that know me as a man who has studied the art of frugality you might be.

No, no... I knew if we made it this far... we would need a treat.

Boy was I right. The building and resort dates back to the 1880's, the rooms are lavish and the atmosphere calming. Nice work Dad!

One side note: The conversation with the Manager actually happened. He explained that we were the first Americans to the ever visit the Binz Resort. This is why they knew it was us at the gate. (Who else would be speaking English?) The man was kind but curious. How and why did we come to travel this distance to be his guest.

"I found it on the Internet", was my reply.

And I told him with the Internet he should expect more Americans. The area and resort was too picturesque not for them to come. He said currently only 5% of his annual guests speak English and most come Switzerland. As such, he apologized that the resort doesn't have the infrastructure to handle an English speaking clientele.

True dat!

Virtually nothing was translated and I think only one of the service staff spoke English. Makes for slow going at times... but we were not in a rush.

Sure it was tough at times... but it made us speak more German (bad German) and that is always fun. Both the staff and the townspeople were very understanding and tried hard to understand us as we butchered the German language.

So if you're ever in the area... Hahaha.

In the end we had a great time. The above picture is actually the familie waving from our room. Great ocean view and cool woodwork. I've never had oval window before in a hotel. I think they gave us the best room in the place. (Being the first Americans was worth something, eh?)

Would we come back?

Probably not. Although the resort and city were wonderful... we like to visit new places and explore new cities rather than come back time and again.

If we lived in Germany... absolutely. I could see us driving from Hamburg in the summer. The water is a beautiful blue, the beach is nice white sand and the accommodations were of high quality. What's not to like?

So... When do we rest?

Not yet... stay tuned. Gotta run.



Sunday, August 26, 2007


"Sacred cows make the best hamburger”
~ Mark Twain, American Humorist & Writer, (1835-1910)
We loaded up our six suit cases and left for the train station... today we go from Bonn to Hamburg.

We chose the train since I thought our 5 year old son would love it. And he did. The only problem is that we travel like a small army. Like a caravan of trucks in support of the troops we are a caravan of suitcases and bags in support of the two kids.

In my son's defense it's mainly for our 6 month old as we have toys and chairs packed in some of the bags. It's nuts... but I guess traveling Europe with two kids is nuts, eh?

Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and is the second largest port city in Europe. In a odd twist of fate it's also the largest city in the European Union which is not a national capital. How is that relevant?

It's not... but I find such useless minor facts interesting, don't you?

Hamburg's history is a virtual "Who's who" of Europe based on it's importance as a port city. From the city taking its name from a castle ordered to be built by Charlemagne in 808 AD, only to be destroyed by a fleet of 600 Viking ships in 845, to ultimately being annexed by Napoleon I in 1810. I could go on, but you get the point.

(Yes, this is also where the Beatles learned their rock n' roll chops. Spending their days and nights in the St. Pauli red light district taught them to be a tight band and more so... there would be no "Sgt. Pepper's" without Hamburg.)

We came to Hamburg to see friends.

We'd like to thank Rudi Hartwig and family for a wonderful weekend. My son will remember his love for bratwurst and have his first "crush." Can you have a crush at 5?

All I know is the look on his face as he held Alexandra's hand for the first time.... priceless.

The best compliment I can give is that it felt like home. Thanks Rudi... we look forward to returning the favor soon.

Next, we have a rental car... and were pointed North. Stay tuned.


PS - Although Hamburg is jokingly said to be the birthplace of the Hamburger, this is just be a myth. There is a story that says the beef patties a German immigrant from Hamburg sold in the 1850s in New York allegedly were named after the butcher and then became a generic term. But I don't buy it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

CVoD Über Alles

"Wir sollten jeden Tag wie ein neues Leben beginnen." ~ Edith Stein, German Philosopher, (1891-1942)
"We should start a new life each day."

Achtung CVoDers!

I am spending the next few days in Bonn, Germany, talking web marketing with some friends I’ve know for years. They are one of the top German financial publishers seeking that extra edge… the extra edge via SEO.

I jumped at the invitation to come to Germany hoping I could turn event into a vacation... and I've done just that. After Bonn we leave for time off in Northern Germany, and ultimately a weekend in London before coming home.

Over the next few posts I’ll be discussing my adventures…

Oh sure I could talk about more web marketing but as mentioned I need a vacation… I need a rest. So today we drink gross bier, in Bonn and Köln, and tomorrow Hamburg.

Fasten your seat belts it’s going to be a bumpy ride. i.e., international travel with two kids... a 5 year old and a 5 months old. I must be crazy.


PS - If you're not familiar, Bonn is about 20 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine It was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government until 1999. Starting in 1998, many government institutions moved to Berlin.

The history of the city dates back to Roman times. About 11 BC, the Roman Army appears to have stationed a small unit in what nowadays is the historical center of town.

It is a quiet city, peaceful if you will. With wonderful parks by the Rhine. The picture is of my son and I along the Rhine river.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Room For Improvement

"People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading." ~ Logan Pearsall Smith, (1865-1946), an American essayist and critic.
A recent Jupiter Research study regarding the behavior of email subscribers says that following are industry averages:

- deliverability rates of 88 percent,
- open rates of 20 percent,
- click-through rates of 9.5 percent and
- conversions of 1.1 percent.

What does this mean? Is this good?

It means every time you broadcast your e-letter that 12% of the list never receives it... 80% never "open" it, more than 90% never click on the links and 99% don't buy anything. Are you depressed?

Don't be.

In my minds eye... although the delivery seems low, the other numbers seem really high compared to the last industry average I've seen.

So I take this as good news. So much so I want to repeat it...on any given day 80% of the subscribers on your list won't open your missive and I'm happy about that?


Look on the positive side... that leaves room for 80% improvement. AND how do you get more people to open and more importantly to actually read your editorial?

CVoD baby!

Loyal readers know what I mean... but if you're a newbie to this space, read this past issue entitled
Respect, Editorial & Worms
where we discuss improving all marketing via better editorial.

In sum,
"If you write your editorial with the understanding that not only will your copy benefit the reader and make you money, but it will also keep your delivery, open, retention, and click through rates high... AND in turn keep your spam complaints low... why wouldn’t you spend more time on good copy & editorial?"
That's CVoD.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Keegan

“Now, son, you don't want to drink beer. That's for daddies and kids with fake IDs.” ~ Dan Castellaneta, American Actor and Writer

My son is 5 years old today.

I remember the day of his birth like it was yesterday. He's an angel and a devil all in one. Happy birthday son.

My man!


Friday, August 10, 2007

Delivery In Moderation

"Temperate temperance is best; intemperate temperance injures the cause of temperance." ~ Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. humorist, writer, and lecturer
My friends at the Mequoda Group just put together a list of 21 platforms that publishers can use to deliver content.

It is as follows:

1. Magazines
2. Print Newsletters
3. Email Newsletters
4. Books
5. Reports
6. Live Events
7. Radio
8. Television
9. CDs
10. DVD Video
11. DVD-ROMs
12. RSS Feeds
13. Podcasts
14. PDFs
15. Mobile
16. Software
17. Seminars
18. Video
19. Websites
20. Merchandising
21. Service

Good list... I'm sure I could brainstorm more, but informative nonetheless.

I'm not listing this to tell you that your business needs to do all these. Not every business does, but maybe there is something here you're not doing that you should be.

Take for example the DVD... instead of letting past issues go to waste in your site archives you could repackage them and reissue them on DVD. Access to your digital archives could be a great way to bring in additional revenues if not new names to your files.

The best businesses produce product across multiple platforms to meet the varying needs and habits of their audience. Give them what they want, eh?

But keep it in moderation. In other words, don't change your business model completely overnight. Test in moderation. Heck, provide all platforms in moderation.

Don't start publishing 8 or 9 new videos a week when 2 or 3 will do. (heck, some computers still can't play these) Just like investing... diversification is the key.

So please don't change for change sake.

Stay creative but test everything. You'll find that a little bit of everything works best. Something for everyone. Let the visitors decide in what format they want to receive content in.

As is our motto here at CVoD, " ...go to the court of last resort - the buyers of your product.”

Don't limit your success by not testing new methods. Your business, online or offline, needs to explore all possibilities by offering multiple formats. You might be surprised by the results.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007


"To my dad... thank you for everything." ~ Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball player with the San Francisco Giants, through tears as he pointed to the sky.
I was born and raised in San Francisco. I bleed orange and black no matter where I hang my hat.

Today, my family and I witnessed history, albeit on TV. AND as always.... he hit it to the deepest part of the ballpark.

Yes... Barry Bonds hit career home run No. 756 Tuesday night. Like him or not, he is baseball's new home run king. Barry broke Hank Aaron's storied record in the fifth inning, connecting on a 3-2 pitch from Washington's Mike Bacsik.

"Thank you very much. I got to thank all of you, all the fans here in San Francisco. It's been fantastic," he said shortly after crossing home plate, his godfather, Willie Mays, at his side.

"I got to thank my teammates. Through all of this, you've been strong and given me all the support I needed and I'll never forget it as long as I live."

To the Nationals, he said: "Thank you for understanding this game. It means a lot to me."

A seven-time NL MVP, the 43-year-old Bonds hit his 22nd home run of the year.

What does this have to do with web marketing? Absolutley nothing... and frankly I don't care.

Thank you Barry.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Wanna Play A Game?

“It's all fun and games, until someone looses an eye...than it's fun and games you can't see anymore.” ~ James Hetfield, lead vocalist, guitarist of the American band Metallica
It's Friday... I'm beat.

I think I need a vacation. But no rest for the weary.

I found a fun diversion from a company called GSINC. They created a fun Flash SEO game where you get to help Google anti-spam guru Matt Cutts fight spam - literally!

Check it out:

Overcome 7 search engine enemies in the Spam war.

It's a hoot.