Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Blair Shareholders Approve Merger

Today, Blair shareholders voted in favor of a merger agreement with Appleseed's Topco Inc. What does this mean to Blair.com Affiliates? The short answer is... nothing! Blair, and it's affiliate program, will continue to operate as a separate unit. This is an exciting opportunity and it should prove beneficial to Blair Corporation, Blair.com, and Blair.com Affiliates.

Here is the press release:

WARREN, Pa., (April 24, 2007) -- Blair Corporation (Amex: BL), (www.blair.com), a national multi-channel direct marketer of women's and men's apparel and home products, today announced that its shareholders have approved a definitive merger agreement with Appleseed's Topco Inc. at a special meeting of stockholders held in Warren. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Appleseed’s Topco, a portfolio company of Golden Gate Capital, will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Blair’s common stock for $42.50 per share in cash.

Approximately 76% of Blair’s total outstanding shares were voted for the approval of the transaction. Shareholder approval satisfies a required condition to the closing of the transaction.

“Blair shareholders clearly recognize the value of this merger,” said Blair President and Chief Executive Officer Al Lopez. “We look forward to completing the transaction and becoming part of Appleseed’s Topco.”

Pending satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, the transaction is anticipated to close within ten business days, at which time Blair’s common stock will cease trading. Following the close, Blair will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Appleseed's Topco. It is expected that the combined entity will have annual revenue of over $1.1 billion.

Stephens Inc. served as financial advisor and Patton Boggs, LLP served as legal advisor to Blair Corporation.

New Branding Initiative at Performics

For anyone who didn't receive the email, or isn't at Ad-Tech San Francisco, Performics made an announcement that they have a new corporate identity. Performics is now DoubleClick Performics. Because Blair.com has an affiliate program with DoubleClick Performics, I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of it. Here's the text from last night's email:

Dear Valued Client,

I am pleased to announce that Performics has a fresh face—a new corporate identity that builds on our history as a pioneer in search and affiliate marketing as well as our alignment with the DoubleClick brand. As part of the new identity, Performics will now be called DoubleClick Performics. The marrying of DoubleClick and Performics allows us to better connect Performics to the DoubleClick brand, and share with the industry the collective strengths we bring to the market. The new identity will be unveiled at adTech San Francisco on April 24th.

Almost two weeks ago we announced that Google agreed to acquire DoubleClick and therefore, DoubleClick Performics; so, why re-brand now? We have been working on the new brand identity for almost a year. As part of the research and brand audit we conducted, we heard from our clients and the industry about our strengths and their expectations for the company. We are moving forward with the launch of our brand for two reasons: (1) we have every intention of meeting and exceeding our client's expectations, and (2) the five key values and attributes of integration, insight, investment, implementation and innovation, will continue to drive DoubleClick Performics. In addition, the acquisition is not complete and, until it is, we continue to operate as an independent company.

Over the past two years, we have strengthened the core of our business. Today, we are well-positioned to offer world-class service with leading solutions that help our clients optimize their campaigns. We are excited to introduce the new corporate identity, which features a new color, green, and intersecting circles that represent DoubleClick's new positioning as the "nerve center of digital marketing" while emphasizing DoubleClick Performics' “thinking forward” strategies and relationships that are integral to executing leading search and affiliate marketing campaigns in the industry. The new identity and our new positioning are truly a reflection of who we are today and the experience we provide for our clients.

We'll also be sharing those insights on a new microsite. The site, which we'll launch on April 24, will feature leading industry experts on industry topics. In the coming weeks, you'll hear from AKQA executive creative director Lars Bastholm, community founder Craig Newmark, industry expert Esther Dyson, and others. We also want to hear from you and your recommendations on industry leaders you are interested in hearing from, and what you'd like to see on our new corporate website, launching later this year. You can access the site at www.doubleclick.com/nervecenter beginning April 24.

I hope you are as excited about our new identity and what it stands for as we are. If you are attending the ad:tech conference, please stop by our booth, #5963, and learn more about DoubleClick Performics' new identity. We look forward to seeing you there.

Thank you.

Stuart Frankel
President, DoubleClick Performics

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Ugly Side of Affiliate Marketing

I came across this yesterday while browsing BUMPzee.com. The story was on Earners Blog.

Virtually everyone in our country knows about the horrific tragedy that took place at Virgina Tech on Monday, April 16th. A solitary gunman opened fire, killing 32 students and professors, before turning the gun on himself.

Someone started a blog that provided details and photos from the shootings. I won't weigh in on what I think about a site like that, other than to say that I believe the news reporting should be left to the major networks. Anything else seems like gossip and rumors. I also won't link to the blog, not because of the topic, but because of what else I found.

What REALLY caught my attention on this blog was a post that was nothing more than a plea for readers to send flowers to the families and loved ones of those lost on Monday.

You guessed it. The author was kind enough to provide affiliate links to several different online florists!

Since the story about this blog and its links has spread like a wildfire across the blogsphere, the author has removed the links and posted an explanation. His explanation is that all proceeds raised would be sent to the victims' fund.

What we're supposed to believe is that the author was asking readers to send flowers to the victims' families, and then he would take the money earned through these sales and send it to the victims' families. I don't buy it! Here's why...

The final sentence of the post asks readers how what he did is any different than the Chicago Tribune or any other news blog that has ads on its pages. The difference is that the other news blogs are just that... news blogs. Those ads he refers to are also there for reports on everything from the Super Bowl to child geniuses to national and local politics. They weren't created specifically to take advantage of a tragedy.

Monday, April 16, 2007

DoubleClick to be Acquired by Google

I know this might be old news for many of you, since the press release came out on Friday, April 13th (Let's hope that's not an omen!) but I was unable to post at that time.

As I'm sure many of you are aware, DoubleClick is the parent company of Performics, and one of Blair.com's two affiliate programs is managed through Performics.com.

Here's the press release:

GOOGLE TO ACQUIRE DOUBLECLICK
Combination Will Significantly Expand Opportunities for Advertisers, Agencies and Publishers and Improve Users' Online Experience
Mountain View, CA, 4/13/2007 - Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today a definitive agreement to acquire DoubleClick Inc., a global leader in digital marketing technology and services, for $3.1 billion in cash from San Francisco-based private equity firm Hellman & Friedman along with JMI Equity and management. The acquisition will combine DoubleClick's expertise in ad management technology for media buyers and sellers with Google's leading advertising platform and publisher monetization services.

To read the press release in its entirety, click here.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

1Dawg.com

I get a lot of affiliate applications. The majority are standard coupon sites, loyalty sites, deal sites and shopping aggregators. I review the sites for all applications to make sure they're appropriate. (Let's not even get into what is appropriate, and what isn't!) Occasionally I bump into a site that I can't figure out why they would want to be a Blair.com affiliate for, regardless of how long I stare at the site.

Here are two examples.

The first site I reviewed was for a Wolfenstein Clan. For those of you who don't know what Wolfenstein is, it's a 1st person shooter game, and this website was the "home base" for a team of kids (or maybe trekkie's) who play the game together. They did have a few banners on their site, but most were for tech stuff and cell phones. I chose to decline this application.

The second request I got was from a website called 1Dawg.com. As far as I can tell, 1Dawg.com is a lot like Youtube.com. They don't have a lot of banners on the site, but I can see them getting a lot of traffic. I figured I'd give them a chance.

But the main reason for this post, is who I found when I was reviewing the 1Dawg.com application. The "Featured Artist" at 1Dawg.com was Alexis Biesiada. Alexis is 10 years old, and I was stunned by her singing ability. I thought I'd share her video with everyone.

(Note) Evidently Alexis' video was removed from 1Dawg.com. I wanted to continue to show Alexis' video, so here it is at YouTube:


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Darwin Awards

I can't resist. I've got to go off topic for this post. I just find these soooo entertaining, I had to share this with everyone.

2006 Darwin Awards

It's that time again... The Darwin Awards are finally out, the
annual honor given to the persons who did the gene pool the biggest service by killing themselves in the most extraordinarily stupid way. Last year's winner was the fellow who was killed by a Coke machine which toppled over on top of him as he was attempting to tip a free soda out. This year's winner was a real rocket scientist... HONEST! Read on...And remember that each and every one of these is a TRUE STORY.

And the nominees were:

Semifinalist #1
A young Canadian man, searching for a way of getting drunk
cheaply, because he had no money with which to buy alcohol, mixed gasoline with milk. Not surprisingly, this concoction made him ill, and he vomited into the fireplace in his house. This resulting explosion and fire burned his house down, killing both him and his sister.

Semifinalist #2
Three Brazilian men were flying in a light aircraft at low
altitude when another plane approached. It appears that they decided to moon the occupants of the other plane, but lost control of their own aircraft and crashed. They were all found dead in the wreckage with their pants around their ankles.

Semifinalist #3
A 22-year-old Reston, VA, man was found dead after he tried to use octopus straps to bungee jump off a 70-foot rail road trestle. Fairfax County police said Eric Barcia, a fast food worker, taped a bunch of these straps together, w rapped an end around one foot, anchored the other end to the trestle at Lake Accotink Park, jumped and hit the pavement. Warren Carmichael, a police spokesman, said investigators
think Barcia was alone because his car was found nearby. "The
length of the cord that he had assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and the ground," Carmichael said. Police say the apparent cause of death was "Major trauma."

Semifinalist #4
A man in Alabama died from rattlesnake bites. It seems that he and a friend were playing a game of catch, using the rattlesnake as a ball. The friend - no doubt a future Darwin Awards candidate - was hospitalized.


Semifinalist #5
Employees in a medium-sized warehouse in west Texas noticed the smell of a gas leak. Sensibly, management evacuated the building extinguishing all potential sources of ignition; lights, power, etc.
After the building had been evacuated, two technicians from the gas company were dispatched. Upon entering the building, they found they had difficulty navigating in the dark. To their frustration, none of the lights worked. Witnesses later described the sight of one of the technicians reaching into his pocket and retrieving an object that resembled a cigarette lighter. Upon operation of the lighter-like object, the gas in the warehouse exploded, sending pieces of it up to three miles away. Nothing was found of the technicians, but the lighter was virtually untouched by the explosion. The technician suspected of causing the blast had never been thought of as
''bright'' by his peers.


Now ladies and gentleman, the winner of this year's Darwin Award
(awarded, as always, posthumously):
The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering metal embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene. Police investigators finally pieced together the mystery. An amateur rocket scientist... had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off, actually a solid fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy military
transport planes an extra "push" for taking off from short airfields. He had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to the car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the JATO! The facts as best as could be determined are that the operator of the 1967 Impala hit the JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the crash site. This was established by the scorched and melted asphalt at that location.
The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within 5 seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well i n excess of 350 mph and continuing at full power for an additional 20-25 seconds.
The driver, and soon to be pilot, would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog fighting F-14 jocks under full
afterburners, causing him to become irrelevant for the remainder of the event.
However, the automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock. Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable. However, small fragments of bone, teeth and hair were extracted from the crater, and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.
Epilogue: It has been calculated that this moron attained a ground speed of approximately 420-mph, though much of his voyage was not actually on the ground.


You couldn't make this stuff up, could you?

Top Search Terms at Blair.com

What are shoppers looking for when the arrive at Blair.com? Here's a list of the "Top 25 Searches" at Blair.com over the past 7 days.

1. shoes
2. capris
3. tunic
4. sweaters
5. tank tops
6. fleece jacket
7. petites
8. sag harbor
9. vest
10. bedspreads
11. bra
12. shells
13. seersucker
14. shorts
15. jackets
16. cardigan
17. skirts
18. curtains
19. split skirt
20. dresses
21. gauze
22. capri sets
23. socks
24. blouses
25. bed in a bag

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Links are back!

I don't know how many of you noticed, my blog links at right were missing for awhile. When Blogger switched to the newer version, I lost all the custom stuff on the Blair Affiliates Blog. And of course my knowledge of HTML and javascript is minimal at best, so it took me a bit of time to get them back up.

I've also added the Light House Coat blog, and the Blog of Eternal Stench, which is the blog of one of LHC's current caretakers. I'm assuming "Blog of Eternal Stench" is a reference to the movie Labyrinth, starring David Bowie. Oh! And of course I had to add a link to the Jellyfish Smack Deal, too!

If you have a link to a site you think I should add, feel free to submit your suggestions.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Top 20 Blair.com Retail Products Over the Past 30 Days


Spring is just about here (though we got about 2-3 inches of snow last night here in Warren, PA, the home of Blair Corporation), so let's take a look at what Blair.com shoppers are buying. As always, these are the top 20 retail products over the past 30 days. No clearance items are included.

32747 Solid Knit Fleece Jacket
41034 Poplin Jacket
45227 Knit Gauze Pants
45163 Embroidered Capri Set
49292 Seersucker Capris & Shorts
44551 Camp Shirt
49290 No-Iron Poplin Pants
12406 Scandia Woods® Full Elastic Sport Pants
49102 Knit Tank
31789 Silhouette Slimmer® Pants
19920 Original BendOver® Pants
16305 Knit Ponte Pants with Pockets
40990 Knit Pants
44543 Tie Tunic
35719 Stretch Knit Tee
04229 Polo Top
36373 Print Tank
30232 Gentlemen’s Stretch Jeans
19904 Seasonless Knit Shell
45124 Stretch Sweetheart Tee

As always, a few observations. Though many of the products are repeat Blair products from my previous post, the Poplin Jacket is new to the list. And... it debuts at #2! That's pretty amazing! There are lots of tees and short sleeved tops on this list, and the single men's product is the Gentlemen's Stretch Jeans.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Light House Coat

I know... I know. It's been awhile since you've heard from me. I promise to continue posting more regularly in the future. (A promise I'm sure to break at times, but my heart is in the right place!) Let's have some fun, since it's my first day back at the Blair.com Affiliates Blog! I'd like you folks to meet a couple of my new friends, and one of their BEST friends! First... meet Cristin and Jamie!



I found these two ladies quite by accident! You see... we have a mutual friend. A friend who grew up here in Warren, PA, but has since been on a wonderful road trip. And on this road trip, my friend bumped into Cristin and Jamie. I would like to introduce everyone to Light House Coat!

To learn more about Light House Coat's travels, you can read about them at The Junket of Lighthouse Coat. Here's a quick description:

Lighthouse Coat is a beautiful outerwear garment that was for sale at www.blair.com during the years of 2005 and 2006. It was given to a friend who did not desire it (for completely unknown reasons) and we decided to pass it along to others to enjoy...

On its travels, Light House Coat has done EVERYTHING -- clubbing with Cristin and Jamie... celebrating the holidays with Megan... LHC even tangled with a dinasaur!

I've also got to tell you all that I'm VERY excited! Jamie tells me that Light House Coat might be coming home for a visit, soon! If that happens, I'll be sure to post photos of LHC's triumphant return before she heads off on a new adventure.