Sunday, September 12, 2010

Social Rewards Launches Loyalty Program Using the Power of Viral Marketing

WEBWIRE – Thursday, August 19, 2010

Turning Tweets, Likes and Check-ins Into Rewards

San Francisco – (August 19, 2010) Social Rewards announced today that it will debut its social media loyalty rewards platform with electronics leader, Sanyo on August 19 during Connected Marketing Week in San Francisco. Gaming giant Tropicana Las Vegas was the first to go live on the Social Rewards platform and was the initial launch beta partner earlier this month. Social Rewards will then celebrate the launch of its newest partner in the Las Vegas market, five-diamond, four star resorts, The Venetian® and The Palazzo, with a tweet-up at Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo on August 20. Additionally, Las Vegas based social media and internet marketing conference PubCon will also launch its Social Rewards program showcasing the platform’s conference and event marketing capabilities.

Featuring a complex backed infrastructure with the ability to track brand mentions and sales activity, Social Rewards offers a complete analytics package highlighting top brand advocates and conversions resulting from the most influential users. Designed to work with a brand’s existing loyalty program or provide a platform upon which a brand can create, customize and create a new one, Social Rewards monitors and tracks tweets, location based check-ins such as Foursquare, Facebook likes and fan activity.

“The premise of Social Rewards is to take existing brand loyalty program members that have social media tendencies and reward them for their loyalty and word of mouth activities with program points that can be redeemed for tangible goods and services,” said Joseph Morin, CEO of Social Rewards. “Our system is also designed to easily create customized programs for companies that do not already have an existing loyalty program.”

Morin continued, “Peer-to-peer recommendations have long been considered to be the strongest form of advertising and Social Rewards is going to change the way retailers think and engage in social media as we turn tweets into sales.”

Tropicana Las Vegas, an early adopter of social media, has already seen initial success with Social Rewards. “We continue to have a strong social media presence, but until recently did not have a social loyalty program to reward our brand ambassadors,” said Brandie Feuer, head of Marketing, PR and Innovation for Tropicana Las Vegas. “Social Rewards provides us with a way to do this.”

About Social Rewards
Social Rewards is a new Social Media startup company based in Torrance, CA founded by Joseph Morin and Mike Uesugi, veterans of the digital industry with a combined experience level of over 25 years. Social Rewards is a cohesive blend of Social Media, Affiliate Marketing and Rewards Programs rewarding consumer brand advocates with loyalty program points for social media activity. In development since late 2009 and incorporated in June of 2010, Social Rewards is self-funded with 6 employees. For additional information, please visit the Social Rewards website at, follow on Twitter and Facebook at

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Launching New Start Up - Social Rewards Where Loyalty Marketing meets Social Media

This month I will be launching a new start up. I guess as a serial entrepreneur its hard to not always be thinking about companies or a new way to do things. This new company was born out of a long term relationship I've had with my high school best friend, Tatsuo (Mike) Uesugi. Over 20 years ago, Mike and I attended Western Christian High School in Covina, CA and even though he spoke little English at the time, we became fast friends as I sat behind him in English class during our Sophomore year. We eventually became roommates after high school and Mike went on to fame working at both Apple and IBM, helping Apple design the first Japanese language KanjiTalk OS for the Mac.

I went in another direction, becoming a private investigator and starting my own detective agency but enjoying the tech sector, the start up process and then running my own tech companies. Eventually the start up bug hit Mike and he founded Global Micro Solutions, doing integration work for just about every Japanese company doing business here in the US and growing to over 50 employees in 5 countries. Last year, Mike approached me with an idea regarding merging affiliate marketing with social media and I was hooked joining him as an advisor on building out a back end for a yet unnamed company. I was exiting my last business - Storybids, had stopped SEO consulting and had just taken on a stint as VP of Search and Social Marketing for - a new Travel meta search engine which was funded entirely by Travelzoo (NASDAQ: TZOO) but the entrepreneurial bug wouldn't stop biting me.

I left last month and joined Mike full time as CEO and Co-Founder at the now named Social Rewards, Inc. which we have built into social media based loyalty marketing programs that reward consumers with a brand's own loyalty program points for engaging in social media activity such as brand mentions via Twitter, Foursquare check-ins and Facebook likes and fan activity.

This grew out of our own simple desires to be rewarded with loyalty points for tweeting about brands that we already loved, we are both extreme travelers, he a Diamond Level at Japan Airlines and myself as an Executive Platinum with American Airlines, a Silver Premier with US Airways, a Starwood Platinum and Fairmont Silver President's Club member. I've also become enamored with both jetBlue and Virgin America since US Airways pulled out of John Wayne airport for flights to Las Vegas and AA stopped going to the San Francisco Bay area.

I had become familiar with the social media benefits of rewarding influential online consumers with products via the 'Blogger's Night Out' promotion that I did during the PubCon Internet Marketing Conference in 2007 where we gave away 500 tickets to major Las Vegas shows such as Spamalot, Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil. It was a huge success and evolved into Tweet4Tix that I continued to run during BlogWorld and Pubcon conferences over the last three years. The hard part was coming up with a business model on how to reward consumers for blogging and then ultimately tweeting activity and for three years I met with brands and partners and pondered the logistics of first theatre tickets and then movie tickets online for rewarding online brand mentions.

Early last year I stumbled upon a little start up called Klout that was barely 4 months old and just getting ramped up. I emailed their CEO, Joe Fernandez and after a few meetings, he and his Co-Founder Binh Tranh figured that I could do what I said I could do and started the process of opening a lot of doors for them both from clients to investors as an official member of the Klout Advisory Board. Eventually I began to see how both Mike's software for affiliate marketing via social media and how Klout's online influencer analytical tools could be merged into the business model that I had been pondering for three years with the Tweet4Tix concept. Now we could identify influential online consumers using Klout and reward them for brand mentions using Mike's nearly completed back end CMS with the most obvious choice of online currency - loyalty program points. Social Rewards was born.

Now with our software finalized and ready to go, we launch this month, please wish us luck. ;)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Storybids, Inc., Acquired by IDT Media Group

I'm pleased to announce that Storybids, Inc. has been acquired by IDT Media Group of Irvine, CA. I will be joining the Board of Directors and my Business Partner and Co-Founder Juan Prado will be joining IDT as it's incoming President.

IDT Media Group enters into a definitive agreement to acquire

December 8, 2009
This strategic acquisition is meant to strengthen IDT’s Consumer Strategy, Video Broadcasting and Brand Connection to boost IDT’s Music Sponsorship Network (

Irvine, California – IDT Media Group, a leading provider of end-to-end artist's solutions and monetization platform to the independent artists community, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Storybids Inc., which includes technology and related intellectual property, customer and partnership agreements. In addition Storybids’ founders and board members to fill key positions in IDT’s management as well as IDT’s board of directors. With the completion of this acquisition, IDT will provide its independent musicians and film makers customer base additional technology and expertise which ties-in with IDT’s Music Sponsorship Network that was launched earlier this year. In conjunction with this acquisition, Juan Prado will fill the position of President of IDT and Joseph Morin will be appointed to IDT’s Board of Directors. Juan and Joe are both veterans of internet marketing and consumer business model.

Consumer strategy and matching artists and brand-sponsors are critical component of IDT’s total artist solutions, going forward. “IDT is well positioned to expand its base of 70,000 active independent musicians and film makers, by providing a meaningful array of essential tools and services designed to maximize their exposures and income opportunity.” Says Ben Abadi CEO of IDT Media Group.

When fully integrated, underserved independent artist community will benefit from a unique platform that covers all four corners of entertainment, physical, web, mobile and live performances that is tied into IDT’s sophisticated direct and sponsored monetization platform.

“This acquisition is one of many acquisitions IDT has in the works for 2009 and 2010, where my experience can lend IDT the expertise it needs to execute deals in short time frame.” says Juan Prado, IDT’s incoming President and Storybids co-founder. He also added “Timing could not be any better for IDT to consolidate additional revenue, qualified traffic as well as complimentary technologies. 2010 is going to be a great year for IDT.”
“I am excited to be part of a company that has established itself as great brand through technology innovations, reinventing itself. That says a lot about the team. My focus for 2010 would be bringing tons of eyeballs to IDT’s “to-be-launched” entertainment portal and its artist solution platform. 2010 would be IDT’s breakout year, just watch.” Says Joseph Morin, IDT’s incoming Board of Director and internet marketing guru, a well respected evangelist and organizer of an Internet Marketing Conference.

“I have known Joseph for a long time and I look forward to working with him and Juan to make IDT a global player in the independent artists community for Music and Film.” Says Leonard S. Johnson, Executive Vice President of Strategic Alliances & Corporate Development of IDT Media Group.

About IDT
IDT has been an end-to-end artist solutions provider to its 70,000 independent bands and film makers since 2002. Till 2008 company’s operated as a backend technology provider for a number of major brands such as: Guitar Center, Musicians Friend, Harmony Central, American Musical Supplies, American Film Institute, USC School of Films and many more, under its DiskFaktory brand. Since then company has invested heavily into completing its end-to-end artist solutions platform to include:

To learn more about IDT’s services go to

About Storybids

Storybids give content creators a link to the product placement marketplace. Storybids provides an outlet for auctioning online content to advertisers to include their products in online video content. It provides an option for content creators, i.e. filmmakers and musicians to off-set production costs and even make a profit on their creation. It also lays the foundation for independent content creators a bridge to monetization resources traditionally only available to big budget productions.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

*OFFICIAL* Blog World Expo Party, Tweetup & Events Schedule

The time is now upon us as we gather for the 3rd annual Blog World Expo and the 2009 conference has grown by leaps and bounds and this year's Las Vegas nightlife is no different. This year we bring you not only a solid conference and exhibition hall bigger and better than ever before but a party schedule that even the most hard charging party reveler will blink at. Keep checking back here as well, because I will be updating this post with new information and late breaking news as we add other events and get more information on these events. We present to you - your evening festivities:

Be sure to RSVP!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 & @LasVegasHilton Tweetup

Time: 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Location: Tempo Lounge (inside The Las Vegas Hilton)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

America's Got Talent Tweetup @ Planet Hollywood

Falls Mall Bar Tweetup

Techset and BlogWorld After Hours Party

Time: 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Location: The Bank (Inside Bellagio Hotel)

Friday, October 16, 2009

BlogWorld Opening Night Party

Time: 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Location: Jet Nightclub (inside Mirage Hotel)

TweetBash! @ Lavo @ Palazzo

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Las Vegas Hilton Poolside BBQ Tweetup

Grand Tweetup! at Studio 54

See everyone there!

TechKaraoke Shenanigans Tweetup

- Joseph Morin (Your BlogWorld Party Guide)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hosting BlogWorld / PubCon Las Vegas Tweetup

I'll be hosting a Tweetup in Las Vegas on August 26th at Koi @ Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Hotel and Casino (Mezzanine level by Strip House Steak House). Guests of honor will be Rick Calvert, CEO of Blog World Expo and Brett Tabke, CEO of PubCon. As an added treat Felipe Coimbra, the Founder of TwtApps and TwtVite will be in from Montreal and it's also my buddy Nick Raba's birthday.

We have availability for 50 and Koi will give out a free shot to those that mention they are following @phvegas on Twitter. There will also be 1/2 price drink and appetizer specials during the happy hour.

The event will take place from 5:00 to 7:00 so if you're in town (Las Vegas) come on down! RSVP on the TwtVite to the right (sidebar) and also be sure to follow me on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Animated Short Film via Graffiti

This is the craziest short film project I have seen. The entire animation sequence is done via murals on outdoor and indoor walls in Buenos Aires.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Friday, May 01, 2009

If Paint Were Sold by Airlines

I'm looking at booking some airline tickets and while pondering times and dates - several options for departure and arrival that existed a few minutes ago simply disappeared right in front of me - now the flight is still available mind you but the price went up - twice - in the space of about 30 minutes. This inspired today's Friday Funny so I thought I would post a classic that I was able to reference from Flyertalk:

If Paint was sold like Plane Tickets

Buying Paint from a Hardware Store:

Customer: Hi. How much is your paint?

Clerk: We have regular quality for $12 a gallon and premium for $18. How many gallons would you like?

Customer: Five gallons of regular quality, please.

Clerk: Great. That will be $60 plus tax.

Buying Paint from an Airline:

Customer: Hi, how much is your paint?

Clerk: Well, sir, that all depends.

Customer: Depends on what?

Clerk: Actually, a lot of things.

Customer: How about giving me an average price?

Clerk: Wow, that's too hard a question. The lowest price is $9 a gallon, and we have 150 different prices up to $200 a gallon.

Customer: What's the difference in the paint?

Clerk: Oh, there isn't any difference; it's all the same paint.

Customer: Well, then, I'd like some of that $9 paint.

Clerk: Well, first I need to ask you a few questions. When do you intend to use it?

Customer: I want to paint tomorrow, on my day off.

Clerk: Sir, the paint for tomorrow is the $200 paint.

Customer: What? When would I have to paint in order to get the $9 version?

Clerk: That would be in three weeks, but you will also have to agree to start painting before Friday of that week and continue painting until at least Sunday.

Customer: You've got to be kidding!

Clerk: Sir, we don't kid around here. Of course, I'll have to check to see if we have any of that paint available before I can sell it to you.

Customer: What do you mean check to see if you can sell it to me? You have shelves full of that stuff; I can see it right there.

Clerk: Just because you can see it doesn't mean that we have it. It may be the same paint, but we sell only a certain number of gallons on any given weekend. Oh, and by the way, the price just went to $12.

Customer: You mean the price went up while we were talking!

Clerk: Yes, sir. You see, we change prices and rules thousands of times a day, and since you haven't actually walked out of the store with your paint yet, we just decided to change. Unless you want the same thing to happen again, I would suggest that you get on with your purchase. How many gallons do you want?

Customer: I don't know exactly. Maybe five gallons. Maybe I should buy six gallons just to make sure I have enough.

Clerk: Oh, no, sir, you can't do that. If you buy the paint and then don't use it, you will be liable for penalties and possible confiscation of the paint you already have.

Customer: What?

Clerk: That's right. We can sell you enough paint to do your kitchen, bathroom, hall and north bedroom, but if you stop painting before you do the bedroom, you will be in violation of our tariffs.

Customer: But what does it matter to you whether I use all the paint? I already paid you for it!

Clerk: Sir, there's no point in getting upset; that's just the way it is. We make plans based upon the idea that you will use all the paint, and when you don't, it just causes us all sorts of problems.

Customer: This is crazy! I suppose something terrible will happen if I don't keep painting until after Saturday night!

Clerk: Yes, sir, it will.

Customer: Well, that does it! I'm going somewhere else to buy my paint.

Clerk: That won't do you any good, sir. We all have the same rules. Thanks for painting with our airline.

Hummingbird mom and baby in nest at night

Hummingbirds in my front yard taken completely dark at night with Nikon Speedlight 900 flash by holding camera high over my head and guessing where to aim - complete luck with this photo!

Taken with Nikon D90, 18MM - 200MM VR Nikkor Lens, F/ 5.6, Exposure 1/60 sec., ISO 800