24 Hour Fitness – Carlsbad, CA Review

I’ve been going to 24 Hour Fitness centers for YEARs now.  I really like being a member.  I’ve been going now to the one in Carlsbad, CA for about two years.  It’s a flagship club because they have an executive office right upstairs from it.  I stop there on the way to work in Carlsbad at least three mornings per week.

I was motivated today to post my personal review of the club because they seem to have decided that all programming in the locker rooms should be set to sports alone.  Me and a few other regulars were disappointed to see that because the little time while changing is the only time we get to catch up on a little news in the AM before going in to work.  I kind of enjoy seeing a little news there each morning.  They used to have one TV set to sports and another regularly set to news. Come on guys, not everyone wishing to stay healthy is that interested in sports!

Anyway, I’m there a lot.  This incident got me thinking and I have decided to do a little review on what happens at the 24 Hour Fitness that is Good, Mediocre, Bad, and Ugly.

  • Receptionists – Good – Really sweet and friendly when you come in.
  • Personal Trainers – Good – They have a great bunch of regular trainers that seem to know their stuff and are helpful with questions (I don’t actually train with one but they’re always friendly about answering a question or two for me if I have one).
  • Equipment – Good – Most of the stuff there is in good shape and well maintained. There’s also enough of it to go around so you can get on a machine when you want to.
  • Pool – Good – I swim almost every time I go and the pool is well maintained.
  • Showers – Good – They always work well and are kept clean every morning.
  • Towels – Bad – I wish they had more paper towel dispensers, especially in the locker rooms.
  • Cleaning Crew – Great – I’d hate to think of what that place would be like without them.
  • Running Path – Great – I’m not sure if this was planned or not but my favorite feature around this club is the dirt path running behind it.  I run 1.2 miles (most of it on that path) as often as possible. This is a great feature by this club.

24 hour fitness, CarlsbadWell, besides that TV thing, I guess that my review is really good.  No one paid me or anything.  Honestly, the only complaints I generally have, I can’t voice because I’m not always sure who’s doing it.  I’m talking about other members who leave detritus around the sinks and showers or who work out without a towel.  That can sometimes be disgusting. (Thanks again for the great cleaning crew).  Keep up the good work.

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“Native Advertising” – Is This New?

Forbes Magazine recently published an ad on it’s cover. This act has started a discussion on the ethics of “native advertising”, a practice where publishers show ads that look the same as articles. An American Marketing Association writer, wrote about the ad and the ethics involved here.

I’m a marketer and a fan of content marketing, but aside from questions of ethics, is the more practical aspect of this discussion which is, “Will consumers lash back?”

I don’t recall where I read it, but I read a long and thorough discussion on this topic years ago. The study concluded that publications who disguise advertising as content eventually lose reader trust. There is a natural human tendency to distrust a publication that drops the distinction between ads and editorial.

This doesn’t mean that advertisers have no right to publish informational articles (and today, to share that content via blogs and other online outlets) but human nature doesn’t change. “Independent” publishing outlets, whether they be print or digital will get their just rewards and if history proves anything, it will be a loss of trust.

It’s my view that publishers who show ads that appear to be independent will eventually lose the trust of readers who will go elsewhere for independently-produced content.

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Google Reads Coffee.Club As Coffee Club!

My friend, Christopher Hofman, Writer and Editor at the European Domain Centre did a nice write up on how Coffee.club ranks well for the key phrase at Google. There seems to be something to this.

“The relatively new website coffee.club revealed something very interesting about how Google reads the new extensions, when it comes to ranking in Google Search – Google reads coffee.club as coffee club!”

It’s a good read for anyone interested in ranking well at Google and new gTLDs.

Read the story… | Source: European Domain Centre

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New gTLD Sites Advertising in the LA Times

I’m happy to see an ad in the LA Times Calendar Section today featuring four new gTLDs (in one ad).  The headline of the ad was the website, Vegas.buzz. It has a really nice logo and is memorable.  I looked up who owned the domain name.  It is Howard Lefkowitz, who is the former CEO of Vegas.com, now the founder of 1 Degree World, an entertainment and travel booking engine.  That’s encouraging.  I love seeing people with expertise in travel and entertainment using new gTLDs like this.  It appears that his company will be using their booking engine on a number of sites such as www.vegas.buzz and vegas.ninja.

vegas-buzzI suppose that the .vegas registry partnered or cooperated with them on the ad offering content at nightclubs.vegas and shows.vegas. The domains appear in the ad but seem to still be owned by the registry (probably awaiting an auction or premium buyer).

All of the sites use the 1 Degree World booking engine with various color themes.  There are some subtle differences.  Vegas.buzz focuses mostly on several shows while vegas.ninja solicits “Ninjas” to offer their content and ideas to the site; seems like a good idea to me.

I’m not sure if I should think of this ad as an ad for a Las Vegas travel website or as an ad for new gTLDs.  Any layperson will obviously think of it as an ad for a Vegas website but the question of which website to visit is certainly there.  I suppose people will visit the one that stands out to them the most.  If they are interested in nightclubs, they’ll probably have a bias to visit nightclubs.vegas first.  If they just want the latest news, I suppose they’ll be drawn to vegas.buzz.  Note that Buzz.vegas is still held by the registry and forwards to vegas.com; that seems a little self-defeating considering they’ve spent some money on this ad and it’s likely that at least some will remember buzz.vegas instead of vegas.buzz.  I suppose we will need a few years to fully understand all of the ways that new gTLDs will pan out and how to cover ourselves for traffic leakage.

In any event, I’m happy to begin seeing some new gTLDs sites doing advertising in the wild. I’m also very excited about the new variety of choices people have in domain names.  I don’t think we’ve even seen the beginning of how these will end up being used.  Creativity should be in abundance over time.

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