New Cities Live on Swift City!

Some new guides have just gone live on the Swift City website!  They are still works in progress, but some great places are listed and reviewed already.

Ray Chatelin shares his list of things to do in Vancouver.  Cara Clinton reviews the best places in New York.  If you’re heading to southern California, see the places Angie Harman recommends in San Diego.  Saskia Bosch van Rosenthal provides lots of great places to visit in Amsterdam.  And lastly, check out Francesca’s list of great places in Florence, Italy.

Rat Race Rebellion

Michael Haaren of Rat Race Rebellion interviewed our Michael Fox this week about the Freelance Travel Writer positions available with Swift City.

You can read a full copy of the interview here.

No Eye on Google or Microsoft :(

The Microsoft Australia Day photos have been posted here and unfortunately we were not included.  Google have updated their Australia Day page and due to air traffic control restrictions, they were unable to fly anywhere near Moore Park. 

That’s a shame, we would loved to have seen “the eye from the sky!”  However our end goal was to promote our sites and have some fun and we achieved both of those things (to a higher level than expected), so we are not overly disappointed.

Those who thought we were spamming Google Maps will be pleased.  It will be interesting to see if Google announce a flyover again.

We entered one of our eye photos in a Microsoft competition.  If you’d like to vote for it you can do so here.

First Post About the Site!

Well, with all the action of the last few days we haven’t had a chance to actually do a post about what’s happening at Swift City!  So here goes:

Cara Clinton has completed the guide to Washington DC and there’s some great places to visit and some very interesting bars in her guide!

Jeremy Andrulis is finalising photos for the guide to Chicago. If you’re making a trip there be sure to pack the excercise gear as you’ll need it after visiting the great steakhouses and pizza restaurants the city has to offer.  Go the Bears this weekend!

Using the Swift City guides as we travelled around we came to the realisation that internet access can at times be difficult to find. Hardcopy Swift City guides would be great! So Mike is working on a printable version of the Swift City guides. You’ll be able to check out the online version as normal, then hit print to take both the reviews and the map with you, all for free! To help pay our hardworking guides we’ll ask users who print the guides for a small donation.

Let us know what you think!

The World of Guerilla Marketing

Making a giant eye, primarily for fun, by no means makes us experts on guerilla marketing, but (spamming questions aside) it leads to an interesting thought: where were the big companies in all of this?

Where was McDonalds with its truck load of Big Mac’s at Bondi Beach creating an image of the world’s largest group of hamburger eaters?  Why didn’t Milton Bradley create the world’s largest twister game on the world’s largest twister mat?

Here are our thoughts why:

1. Ideas like this would get laughed at by many companies.

2. The decision to do something like this would take too long at a large company, too many people would need to be involved. We heard about the idea on Tuesday and were on a plane Thursday night.

3. Given large companies have a base reputation to protect, there are risks involved.  Much of our press was negative.

4. Large companies are much more susceptible to bad press. Take Wal-Mart and Microsoft. In their growth phase, both were loved by the press, but as they grew, so did the negative press, to the point they are at now where they can’t do a thing right.

5. Given the barriers caused by the above, how the hell does a large company motivate its employees to spend their own time brainstorming and planning an idea all week, then get up at 4am on a national holiday to execute it? It’s tough and they didn’t. They hire advertising agencies to try and do it for them, but they sometimes struggle with the same problems and need the client’s approval before doing anything, meaning the decision to act would take too long.

As Seth Godin says, small is the new big.

Slashdot Article

An interesting start to our brand new blog! A Slashdot posting, 54,000 visitors and 119 very mixed comments in 24 hours.

It seems we’ve provoked a rather heated debate on whether guerilla marketing should be considered spam. There have been some very insightful comments from lots of people; and it also seems a few Slashdot geeks are a little keen on our Jodie! (Sorry lads, she’s happily married!)

So is this spam? In our view, content that is interesting or useful, isn’t spam. For instance, the most highly rated video of all time on Youtube is an ad for condoms. The videos in positions 2, 3 and 4 are also ads — funny, entertaining ads, that people find interesting enough to tell their friends about.

Let’s get one thing straight – we hate spam as much as the next person. We gave this a lot of thought during our planning because we wanted to do something cool. The simple thing would have been to just create a large banner of our URL. How dumb would that have been! Eventually we decided on a giant eyeball for Swift City and a living billboard for Darwin Dating. I guess it’s up to the individual whether that’s interesting or not, but we thought it was fun, and we had a great time participating.

And your view on all of this? We read through all the comments on our blog and slashdot (thanks to you all) and 38 people were against what we did, while 60 people thought it was great (the rest of the comments didn’t have a definite opinion either way).

So will this happen again?  You bet!  If a small group of nobodies can get their message in front of 54,000 people for $1000, and have a lot of fun doing it, then other people will try.  Ironically it’s the fact that we’ve been accused of spamming that has brought this traffic and it’s the heated negative comments that are bringing us links.

Finally, if you are worried that we have spammed you by creating our eyeball, then please, if the pictures do eventually turn out, we urge you not to zoom all the way into a tiny, obscure part of an empty park in Sydney, Australia. You’ll be completely annoyed if you do! And you may be in luck anyway. As a number of people pointed out, it appears Google may not have flown over the park we were in until later in the day or not at all.

The Microsoft pictures are due out tomorrow. We’ll post as soon as we see them.

p.s. For the record, we recycled all of the paper after the event. (For those of you who live in Sydney, you’ll notice the recycling bin in the final picture.)

Run Cara Run

Cara Clinton, the Swift City guide for Washington DC is running the New Jersey Marathon in April 2007 to help raise money for Leukemia research.

You can read more and help Cara by donating money here and track her progress as she trains for the big race here.

Good luck Cara and hopefully there’s a great cafe or bar at the finish line for you!