Virales Marketing

27. Oktober 2008 | Von Tino Kreßner | Kategorie: Marketing 2.0

Ziel des viralen Marketings ist es Mundpropaganda gezielt auszulösen und sich die positiven Effekte des Weiterempfehlens zu Nutze zu machen. Dazu gilt es die Vermittler und Meinungsführer in einem sozialen Netzwerk zu finden und mit einer Informationseinheit zu infizieren. Verkäufer und Kenner könnten Angestellte einer Firma sein, oder eben als freie Mitarbeiter für das Einspritzen eines Mems in ein soziales Netzwerk bezahlt werden. Doch Vermittler erreichen meist nur ihren Status, weil sie unabhängig agieren und ihnen dafür auch ein hohes Vertrauen zu Teil kommt, welches sie nicht verletzen wollen. Zu dieser Schwierigkeit die richtigen Vermittler zu finden, kommt noch hinzu, dass der Ort und der Zeitpunkt für das Auslösen solch einer sozialen Epidemie entscheidend sein könnten. Diese Aspekte genau zu beachten und erfolgreich umzusetzen ist eine sehr anspruchsvolle aber potentiell enorm mächtige Marketing Disziplin.

Der Begriff „viral“ kommt durch eine Assoziation aus der Medizin und beschreibt den Effekt eines Virus, der sich von Person zu Person überträgt. Virusartig soll sich auch die Botschaft verbreiten, die bei dieser Form des Marketings gezielt von einer Marketingagentur bzw. einem Unternehmen gestreut wird. Das virale Marketing beschreibt das Auslösen und Kontrollieren von Mundpropaganda mit dem Ziel ein Produkt, ein Projekt oder eine Leistung erfolgreich zu vermarkten. Diese Art des Marketing widerspricht gänzlich den Regeln der klassischen Werbung, bei der es fast nur darum ging, soviel Adressaten wie möglich zu erreichen. Beim viralen Marketing wird eine Botschaft in ein starkes soziales Netzwerk eingespeist. Die Verbreitung gilt es dabei zu beschleunigen und verstärken, in dem man die Vermittler, also die Knotenpunkte dieser Netzwerke erreicht. Wird eine Botschaft erstmal in einem sozialen Netzwerk verbreitet, wird sie mit viel höher Glaubwürdigkeit behandelt, da sie selbst durch den Kundenmund übertragen wird und nicht durch eine bezahlte Agentur. Wobei mit diesem Satz gleich der nächste Aspekt deutlich wird: Das Weitertragen der Informationseinheit ist im Regelfall für das Unternehmen kostenlos, denn der Kunde wird dies freiwillig tun. Diese Form des Marktings ist nicht wirklich neu, doch durch das Internet hat sich die Inkubationszeit für einen „Kommunikationsvirus“ erheblich reduziert.

Aktives und passives Viral-Marketing

Das virale Marketing lässt sich nach der Rolle des Konsumenten unterscheiden. Bei einer aktiven Beteiligung des Kunden, wird dieser selbst aktiv und empfiehlt das Produkt weiter. Videoplattformen, wie Youtube, unterstützen dieses Verhalten gezielt, in dem sie einen Codeschnipsel zur Verfügung stellen, mit dem jeder ein Video, was ihm gefällt, bei sich auf der eigenen Internetseite durch simples Copy&Paste einbinden kann.

Bei der passiven Variante wird die Information durch den Kunden rein durch die Nutzung dieser Information oder des Services weiterverbreitet. Bleiben wir bei dem Beispiel YouTube. Jeder, der ein Video auf seiner eigenen Homepage einbindet, bewirbt gleichzeitig den Dienst von YouTube. Denn sobald der Videoplayer auf einer externen Webseite eingebunden wird, erscheint auch das Logo von YouTube in der rechten unteren Ecke und spätestens bei einem Klick auf das Video landet man bei der von Google für 1,65 Milliarden US-Dollar gekauften Videoplattform. Man könnte dem Webseitenbetreiber unterstellen, dass er durch das Einbinden des Videos aktiv vor hatte, ebenso YouTube zu bewerben. Noch deutlicher wird das passive Verhalten bei der Nutzung des bekannten, kostenlosen eMail-Dienstes Hotmail. Mit jeder eMail, die ein Nutzer über diese Plattform versendet, verschickt er gleichzeitig eine Werbebotschaft im Fußbereich der Mail. Das Anhängen dieser Werbetextzeilen kann der Nutzer nicht verhindern. Er sendet diese Information einem Anderen ohne ihm diese direkt übermitteln zu wollen. Hotmail verzichtete in den ersten 18 Monaten komplett auf andere Formen von Werbung und konnte sich dann bereits über ein 300 Millionen US-Dollar Kaufangebot von Microsoft freuen.

Elemente professioneller Mundpropaganda

Das virale Marketing lässt sich auch als professionelle Disziplin für das Auslösen von Mundpropaganda verstehen. Die erfolgreiche Vermarktung einer Sache oder auch die Imagepflege einer Marke steht hier im Vordergrund. Folgende Elemente sind laut Martin Oetting, einem führenden Mundpropaganda-Marketing-Spezialist, für professionelles Mundpropaganda notwendig:

  • Marktforschung: Welche Kommunikation besteht bereits heute über bestimmte Produkte, Diensleistungen und Marken?
  • Reaktives Management: Wo und wer verbreitet negative Informationen über diese Produkte und aus welchen Gründen? Was muss getan werden, um aus dieser negativen Mundpropaganda eine Positive werden zu lassen?
  • Produktpolitik: Besitzen die Produkte bereits eingebautes Mundpropaganda-Potential? Wie kann dieses unterstützt, ausgebaut oder eben verbessert werden?
  • Kommunikationspolitik: Ist die Kommunikation darauf ausgerichtet, jeweils mehr als nur einen Rezipienten zu erzielen? Bieten die Informationen Inhalte, die sich andere gern weitererzählen würden? Ist es für den Kunden einfach diese Informationen weiter zu empfehlen?
  • Beziehungspflege: Die eigenen Kunden, aber vorallem die Vermittler und Verkäufer kennen! Und was muss man tun, um diese Personen für eigene Botschaften und Produkte zu begeistern und an das Unternehmen zu binden?
  • Erfolgsmessung: Wird der Erfolg der Maßnahmen gemessen und wenn ja, wie kann erkannt werden, ob sich die Mundpropaganda verbessert?

Anforderungen an die Informationseinheiten

Durch die „Vermittler, Kenner, Verkäufer“ haben wir erfahren, dass es zur schwierigsten Aufgabe des viralen Marketings gehört, die Vermittler zu erreichen und vor allem auch für die Informationseinheit zu begeistern, so dass sie diese weiterverbreiten. Dies muss schon frühzeitig in der Kampagnenplanung berücksichtig werden. Nur wenn es sich für den Vermittler lohnt darüber zu reden, wird er auch aktiv. Dabei werden an die Informationseinheit beziehungsweise an die Kampagne, mit der diese übertragen wird, hohe Anforderungen gestellt:

  • neu, innovativ: Beim Verbreiten einer Nachricht möchte man keinen kalten Kaffee erzählen. Ein „kenn‘ ich schon“ ist meist eine enttäuschende Antwort, der man aus dem Weg gehen möchte. Mit jedem Verbreiten einer Information setzt der Überbringer auch seinen Ruf aufs Spiel. Er möchte sich profilieren, um auch in Zukunft Gehör zu bekommen. So kann zum Beispiel einen nicht so Internet-affinen Menschen die Werbeclips zu Microsoft Surface empfohlen und ausgemalt werden, welche Möglichkeiten dies für die Zukunft bedeuten.
  • Unterhaltend: Ein Grundbedürfnis des Menschen ist Unterhaltung. Freude und Spaß an einer Sache wirkt sich positiv auf unsere Wahrnehmung aus. Scrat, die rattenähnliche Figur aus dem Animationsfilm „Ice Age“ von Pixar war schon längst bekannt, bevor der Film in die Kinos kam. Dieser scheinbar vom Pech verfolgte und dennoch liebevolle Nager hat uns so große Freude bereitet, dass die Trailer zu dem Film bereitwillig an Freunde weiter geschickt wurden.
  • Nützlich: Ist ein Produkt oder ein Dienst überaus nützlich, wird es sehr gern weiterempfohlen. Mit der Übertragung dieser Information, wird der Vermittlfer dem Empfänger bei einem Problem oder einem Wunsch helfen und somit in seiner Gunst stehen und dankbar sein. Ein Garant wird die Empfehlung der Internetplattform Amiando sein, für jemand der selbst Events organisiert. Hier wird einem der Kartenvorverkauf abgenommen, Besucher können sich im Vorfeld umfangreich zu der Veranstaltung informieren, austauschen und Fotos hochladen.
  • Kostenlos: Wenn eines der drei vorigen Elemente vorhanden ist und dieser Dienst beziehungsweise das Produkt kostenlos zur Verfügung steht, wird man einem die Weiterempfehlung kaum noch übel nehmen können. Außer fehlender Zeit wird der Gegenüber kein Argument haben, sich die Information nicht anzuschauen. Dies funktioniert ebenso, wenn nur Teile eines Dienstes oder eines Produktes kostenlos sind, solange der Nutzen und/oder der Unterhaltungswert ausreichend ist. So wird zum Beispiel die Webseite deezer.com funktionieren, über die man kostenlos Millionen Songs online anhören kann oder diese sogar einzeln sowie in individuell erstellen Playlisten auf der eigenen Webseite einbinden kann. Der Begeisterung wird bei den Empfängern sicherlich auch nicht der Aspekt Abbruch tun, dass die Musikalben über diese Webseite gleichzeitig kostenpflichtig bezogen werden können, solange die Songs kostenlos in voller Länge abspielbar sind.
  • einfach zu übertragen: Eigentlich simpel, je niedriger der Aufwand ist, eine Service weiterzuleiten oder eine Information zu verbreiten, desto höher ist die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass ein Nutzer auch aktiv wird. Für die Onlinewelt bedeutet dies, es sollte sich leicht in die eigene Webseite einbinden lassen oder per Mail verschicken lassen. Hier bieten sich als Beispiele eigentlich immer wieder Videoplattformen an, die das alle sehr vorbildlich machen. Wenn man bedenkt, wie schwer es noch vor zwei Jahren war, an ein Musikvideo heranzukommen, geschweige denn es per Mail zu verschicken. Heute sucht man auf YouTube, MyVideo oder ähnlichen Webseiten und bekommt unter oder neben dem Video ein Link angeboten, dieses weiterzuleiten und direkt per Mail an Freunde zu schicken.

Medienwahl für virales Marketing

Grundsätzlich ist virales Marketing auf kein Medium beschränkt. Dennoch bietet das Internet gegenüber anderen Medien erhebliche Vorteile, wie beispielhaft an der Erfolgsgeschichte von „Grup Tekkan“ zu sehen war. Ausgelöst und übermittelt wurde der Virus über ein Internettagebuch, wie es heutzutage von jedem ins Leben gerufen werden kann. Nicht die großen Firmen oder Medienunternehmen haben die Botschaft in den ersten Tagen weiterverbreitet, sondern die Kunden selbst. Der Effekt wurde zwar durch die klassischen Medien erheblich verstärkt, der Plattenvertrag war aber schon von dem Autriftt bei „TV Total“ in der Tasche.

Durch das Internet lässt sich eine kritische Masse an Menschen schnell erreichen. Will man in der Offline-Welt eine Nachricht verbreiten, so ist der Empfängerkreis durch die zur Verfügung stehende Zeit und die Reichweite des Empfehlers stark begrenzt. Wer trifft schon Zehntausend Menschen innerhalb vier Tagen – soviele Empfänger hatte die Information über die Band „Grup Tekkan“ allein bei Oborski innerhalb dieser Zeit. Zumal der Vermittler im Internet nicht zu jeder Zeit, wo die Information übertragen wird, persönlich anwesend sein muss.

Einmal online veröffentlicht, ist die Information für alle Zeit in den Weiten des Internets erreichbar und in der Regel auch gespeichert. Dennoch ist die Reichweite im Internet begrenzt. Laut der ARD/ZDF Online Studie nutzen ca. 60% der Deutschen das Internet. Die restlichen 40% können also nur in der Offline-Welt erreicht werden. Ein je nach Produkt nicht zu unterschätzender Aspekt. Für jede Kampagne sollte also eine begründbare Medienwahl getroffen werden. Die Botschaft ist im Internet kopierbar und gleichzeitig mehrfach weiter sendbar. Jeder Webseitenbetreiber kann ein Musikvideo auf seiner Homepage einbauen und jeder eMail Besitzer kann es gleichzeitig an all seine Kontakte schicken. Dies ist ein erheblicher Geschwindigkeitsvorteil gegenüber der persönlichen Gespräche, könnte aber unter Umständen versickern, wenn die Verbreitung wie Spam angelegt zu sein scheint – also keine persönliche Empfehlung mehr ist, sondern wahllos verbreitet wird.

Wie lässt sich Mundpropaganda anregen?

Nachfolgend findet sich ein kleiner Leitfaden, wie sich Mundpropaganda gezielt anregen lässt.

  • Durch bereits im Produktion eingebaute Mundpropaganda, auch bezeichnet als externe Netzwerkeffekte. Dies bedeutet, dass ein Produkt umso nützlicher wird, je mehr Menschen es nutzen. Beispiel: Xing – Je mehr Menschen sich anmelden, desto vollständiger kann das eigene Kontaktadressbuch werden und das eigene Kontaktnetzwerk abgebildet werden. Als weiteres Beispiel ist die Wifi-Community „FON“ zu nennen. Je mehr Leute sich den FON Router kaufen und ihr Internet teilen, desto flächendeckender wird Internet mittels WLAN verfügbar sein. Oder der VoIP Dienst „Skype„: Wer kostenlos mit seinen Freunden übers Internet telefonieren möchte, muss erst diese dazu bewegen, sich das Programm ebenfalls zu installieren.
  • Durch Werbung, die nicht den üblichen Werbefrust bei den Konsumenten auslöst. Beispiel: VW produzierte zusammen mit Hape Kerkeling als Horst Schlämmer eine Videoserie über seine Führerscheinprüfung. In den Videos bewarb Kerkeling immer wieder die Vorzüge des VW Autos. Zwar wurde hier die Schleichwerbung durch Blogger aufgedeckt, dennoch ist diese Aktion und die Inhalte in der Blogosphäre ein großes Gesprächsthema geworden.
  • Durch Involvierung & Partizipation: Konsumenten, die selbst aktiv an der Entstehung teilhaben dürfen oder durch Befragungen in den Optimierungsprozess einbezogen werden, fühlen sich als VIPs. Sie werden ihren Freunden stolz von den eigenen Leistungen erzählen und dabei unvermeidlich auch das Produkt oder Projekt erwähnen.
  • Exklusivität: Auch durch das künstliche Einschränken der Verfügbarkeit, können beteiligte Kunden zu VIPs und stolzen Weiterempfehlern gemacht werden. Beispiel: Joost stellte nur ausgewählten Beta-Testern den Zugang zu dem neu-entwickelten WebTV zur Verfügung. Gleichzeitig erhielten diese Beta-Tester die Möglichkeit mittels Einladungen Weiteren den Zugang zur Verfügung zu stellen. Unzählige Blogger brüsteten sich damit Beta-Tester zu sein und sogar noch großzügig Einladungen exklusiv zu verschenken und stellten ganz neben diese neue Software vor.
  • Beziehungspflege: Durch das Pflegen eines guten Kontaktes (unter anderem auch durch Zuspielen von Informationen und Materialien) können einzelne Personen zu Kennern gemacht werden. Hilfreich ist es dabei die Meinungsführer zu finden, die selbst sehr kommunikativ sind und auf die andere Menschen hören.

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    Coach mentions Jordan while praising v-ball star

    U.S. coach Hugh McCutcheon paid quite the tribute to Destinee Hooker while talking about her path to volleyball stardom.nike heels

    Hooker was a last-minute cut from the Beijing Games team that won a silver medal. But instead of pouting over the slight, Hooker emulated NBA great Michael Jordan - who was cut from his high school basketball team - by returning more determined.nike heels for women

    "Sounds like Michael Jordan getting cut as a sophomore, right?" McCutcheon said after Hooker's team-high 24 points helped the Americans beat South Korea on Thursday to advance to the gold-medal match.nike high heels

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    "She's incredible. She's playing like a vet right now and it's very easy to play with her," captain Lindsey Berg said. "And I'm lucky that's who I have to set up because she makes my balls look good."nike heels australia

    Hooker has become one of volleyball's premier players after overcoming those struggles plus knee surgery last year, when she was also the MVP of the World Grand Prix. Perhaps the biggest obstacle was the constant comparisons to her sister, although she learned to channel that into a positive, too.Air Jordan Spizike Heels

    "That's what really pushed me as an athlete, I saw my sister succeed, I saw her do so much and I thought I wanna be just like her," said Hooker, who likely will finish second in scoring at the London Games. "And now I'm in that spot and I'm doing this for her and my family and I'm glad I didn't give up."Jordan 6 Rings Heels

    Hooker hopes to compete with her big sister in Rio de Janeiro in four years. The U.S. is hoping to enter those games as the defending champion, with a second straight final rematch against Brazil standing in the way.nike air max high heels

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    Is stick-thin Sharon Stone turning into a lollipop lady?

    As she arrived for a star-studded dinner in Beverly Hills, it seemed that a good meal was just what Sharon Stone needed.herve leger sale

    Clad in a figure-hugging Herve Leger dress, her slight figure and bouffant hair caused something of a 'lollipop' effect - a trend often attributed to Hollywood stars when their heads are out-of-proportion with their tiny bodies.

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    And Samantha Ronson ensured the celebrations continued as DJ at the after-show party.

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    Programmes and services supported by An Evening with Women include women’s health, legal assistance, domestic violence prevention and education, cultural programmes, self-enrichment courses, social events and discussion groups.www.herveleger2012cheap.com<hr>

    Michael vs. LeBron? It's a match made for video

    Michael and Magic versus Kobe and LeBron?

    Sounds like a dream matchup, and it could be coming to a video game console near you.jordan heels for women

    With USA Basketball and 2K Sports forming a partnership, fans can see what happens when the amazing 1992 Dream Team goes up against this year's Olympic gold medal winner once NBA 2K13 hits the shelves this fall.Nike Air Force One Heels

    Never mind that it's not quite the real thing, more fuel is about to be added to the debate. Not that there really is a debate in Michael Jordan's mind.nike heels

    "We'll never know, but let's talk about it," Jordan said on a conference call. "I know Kobe (Bryant) said some things early on and I responded to those. The '92 Dream Team, I felt, was a more well-rounded basketball team."nike heels for women

    It's hard to argue, considering the 1992 Dream Team had Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird leading a group that is widely considered the greatest collection of talent ever assembled.nike high heels That team included 11 future Hall of Famers, won its six Olympic games by an average of more than 43 points en route to the gold medal and never was challenged the way this year's team was by Spain in the gold medal game, with the Americans squeezing out a 107-100 victory.

    Then again, that's a testament to the global growth of the sport that the 1992 team spurred, leading to an influx of foreign talent in the NBA.

    The `92 team boasted arguably the greatest player of all time in Jordan and greatest point guard in Magic Johnson, not to mention Larry Bird and dominant centers in Patrick Ewing and David Robinson.nike dunk heels If the most recent group had a weakness, it was in the middle, with Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and Blake Griffin sitting out with injuries. Throw in the fact that Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose missed the games, too, and the Americans weren't quite fully loaded.

    Still, they brought plenty of ammunition to London, with LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Bryant leading the way. And even with some stars missing, there still was talk that this year's team could be as good as the one that stormed through Barcelona two decades earlier.nike sb heels Bryant fueled the debate when he told reporters during training in Las Vegas they could take a game from the 1992 team if they met in their primes.

    Even though Bryant didn't say the current stars would win a series, the comment drew sharp replies from members of the 1992 team. Jordan told The Associated Press back then that he "absolutely laughed" and said there's "no comparison" which team is better.nike dunk sb heels

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    "I just felt like we had enough size that we could contend with the 2012 team," Jordan said. "I think one of the things the 2012 team lacked was size.nike sandale heels We probably would have attacked them from inside and outside, and our defense would have been pretty much solidified with the shot-blockers as well as perimeter defensive players.

    "I think those guys were much more athletic than maybe we were at that particular point, but I would like to think we were a little bit smarter and well-groomed about playing at that level of basketball. Honestly, I don't think we would have had problems with them as much as they probably would have had (with us).jordan heels I think our team would have been a lot better in terms of all-around basketball."

    There's no way to know for sure, of course. There's no time machine that can transport the 1992 team to today or the 2012 team back 20 years, so the video game might be the next best thing. If nothing else, it'll give the debate another platform once the game is released on Oct. 2.nike jordan high heels

    The idea of seeing Jordan going against Kobe or James should intrigue fans, even if they're the ones at the controls and the players are in graphic form. Right?cheap jordan heels 2012

    The numbers indicate they would. Jason Argent, 2K Sports' vice president of marketing, said he didn't have the online statistics but the company sold about 5.5 million units of the 2K11 game, and another 4 million units for the 2K12 game, which was impacted by last season's NBA lockout lockout.cheap jordan high heels

    Even so, the company wasn't planning to include the 1992 and 2012 U.S. teams.jordan heels 2012

    He said Jay-Z provided the push.

    The rapper and part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets is serving as the game's executive producer, and he insisted in a meeting that those Olympic teams be included. He also helped get Charles Barkley to sign on and be included.

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    One player who won't be represented in the game is Scottie Pippen. Argent said they simply couldn't reach an agreement.nike heels 2012

    As for which team was better - 1992 or 2012? Jordan thinks it's just beginning.jordan women heels

    "The only way it can end is to lace them back up and play against them in 2012, but I don't think that's going to happen," Jordan said, laughing. "Just let the debate begin."<hr>

    Teammates cherish time spent with their hero

    "Most people would love to meet their childhood hero.

    But for many of the younger players on the Seattle Mariners, they got to play alongside him. And as the marathon that is a baseball season wore on, that opportunity and privilege to wear the same uniform as a man they idolized growing up never once grew stale or routine.

    The simple sight of Ken Griffey Jr. in the clubhouse made them all as giddy as 12-year-olds.ken griffey jr shoes

    So on the day that Griffey announced his retirement, those players already were reminiscing about the time they spent with the greatest player in Mariners history, a player whom they grew up idolizing.

    "It was amazing," infielder Matt Tuiasosopo said.ken griffey shoes 2012 "In the six years I've played in the organization, the last year and a half has been the best of my career, just coming here to the clubhouse every day knowing I'd get to be with a guy like Griffey, who I grew up watching and wanting to be like."

    How much did the Woodinville High grad want to be like him?ken griffey shoes

    "Every day me and all my friends would go out in our cul de sac just up the street from my house and play with a little tennis ball, and we would all act like him," he said. "I wasn't even a lefty, but I would act like him from the right side. We loved him, the Bone (Jay Buhner) and Edgar (Martinez)."

    You didn't have to be from the Northwest to grow up loving griffeys.

    "Coming from Australia, he was one of the handful of guys you could relate to being a young kid," pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith said. "He had a huge impact on the game in Australia."

    Rowland-Smith made his major league debut on June 22, 2011, and the first batter he faced was Griffey, then with the Reds. He struck him out swinging.ken griffey shoes sale

    "To come in and get to face him and talk to him about a few years later was a cool experience," Rowland-Smith said. "All I remember is that I got ahead of him and trying to throw a curveball as hard as I could. It bounced, and he swung.cheap ken griffey shoes I walked off, and I could hear the groans from the crowd cause they wanted to see him hit a home run. But it was a special moment for me."

    Then again he will view the whole time with Griffey as special."<hr>

    Griffey's bat far more troublesome than his nap

    "All the squalor about Ken Griffey Jr. reportedly being asleep in the clubhouse during a game last week at Safeco Field was interesting, but let's not forget the real issue at play.

    The problem hanging over the 2010 Mariners is not sleeping players, it's slumbering bats.griffeys 2012

    This Seattle ballclub hasn't just been bad offensively, it's been historically awful. Its current pace of 3.29 runs per game would be the worst in franchise history, breaking the mark of 3.44 runs in 1983.

    Even with two home runs on Sunday, the Mariners are on pace for just 63 this season. The club record for fewest long balls in a year is 97 set in 1978.

    This team is batting .229, well below the record low of .240 in 1983.cheap griffeys

    We could go on, but you get the point. This M's offense has been stunningly bad. When the Mariners said we should "Believe Big," I trust they weren't talking about believing we were going to see the biggest offensive flop in the franchise's 34-year run.

    And while that blame can go many directions, it definitely begins with designated hitters Griffey and Mike Sweeney.griffey shoes

    The concept of going with defensive-oriented players who are light on offense doesn't carry over to the DH spot, where there is no glove-first excuse. These guys get paid to do one thing and they're not doing it.king griffey shoes

    You want sad numbers, the Mariners' DH position has produced a .185 batting average, a .248 on-base percentage and a .210 slugging percentage."

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    Coach mentions Jordan while praising v-ball star

    U.S. coach Hugh McCutcheon paid quite the tribute to Destinee Hooker while talking about her path to volleyball stardom.nike heels

    Hooker was a last-minute cut from the Beijing Games team that won a silver medal. But instead of pouting over the slight, Hooker emulated NBA great Michael Jordan - who was cut from his high school basketball team - by returning more determined.nike heels for women

    "Sounds like Michael Jordan getting cut as a sophomore, right?" McCutcheon said after Hooker's team-high 24 points helped the Americans beat South Korea on Thursday to advance to the gold-medal match.nike high heels

    "She just loves the moment of competition, and that's the great thing to have in an athlete, a person who relishes that moment, who wants to be out there."

    The 24-year-old Hooker, a wing spiker, was promoted to the national team two years ago.jordan heels

    "I don't think she's been off the court since then," McCutcheon said.

    Hooker's athleticism has never been in question. She played basketball and was a high jumper on the track and field team at the University of Texas before switching full-time to volleyball.

    But her ability to overcome adversity had been in doubt.jordan heel

    The 24-year-old Hooker broke into tears while recounting her past struggles trying to live up to the expectations created by sister Marshevet, who was on the 4x100-meter relay team that won gold in Beijing.jordan high heels

    "When I was younger, being told I cannot do some things and now I'm at this level that I never thought I'd be, it's truly a blessing," Hooker said while wiping away tears.nike dunk heels "Having people in my life who are there with you, they know you can do it and they want to push you through it. It's a lot but when you have people like that in your corner you can get through anything."

    Hooker pursued her volleyball dream after being spurred on by her family and McCutcheon, who said Hooker has worked hard to improve her footwork, blocking and technique to add consistency to her natural talent.jordan heels for women Coming from an athletic family - both her parents played college basketball - certainly helped her mental stamina and physical development.

    "She's incredible. She's playing like a vet right now and it's very easy to play with her," captain Lindsey Berg said. "And I'm lucky that's who I have to set up because she makes my balls look good."nike heels australia

    Hooker has become one of volleyball's premier players after overcoming those struggles plus knee surgery last year, when she was also the MVP of the World Grand Prix. Perhaps the biggest obstacle was the constant comparisons to her sister, although she learned to channel that into a positive, too.Air Jordan Spizike Heels

    "That's what really pushed me as an athlete, I saw my sister succeed, I saw her do so much and I thought I wanna be just like her," said Hooker, who likely will finish second in scoring at the London Games. "And now I'm in that spot and I'm doing this for her and my family and I'm glad I didn't give up."Jordan 6 Rings Heels

    Hooker hopes to compete with her big sister in Rio de Janeiro in four years. The U.S. is hoping to enter those games as the defending champion, with a second straight final rematch against Brazil standing in the way.nike air max high heels

    "She's spectacular, she's got every attacking shot you need and is a great blocker," Brazil wing spiker Jaque said.nike jordan heels "We're going to have to be ready for her, she's the U.S.' top player."

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    Follow Paul Logothetis at www.highheelsau.com

    Is stick-thin Sharon Stone turning into a lollipop lady?

    As she arrived for a star-studded dinner in Beverly Hills, it seemed that a good meal was just what Sharon Stone needed.herve leger sale

    Clad in a figure-hugging Herve Leger dress, her slight figure and bouffant hair caused something of a 'lollipop' effect - a trend often attributed to Hollywood stars when their heads are out-of-proportion with their tiny bodies.

    The 51-year-old star was attending An Evening Of Women: Celebrating Art, Music and Equality at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel.herve leger dress

    The actress was wearing a coral-coloured Herve Leger dress -a favourite with stars including Kate Winslet, Miley Cyrus and Cheryl Cole.Herve Leger Bandage Dress

    The plunging neckline highlighted her razor sharp collar bones, while the tight bandage design clung to her ribcage.Bandage Dress

    Miss Stone accessorised with towering floral heels and diamond-studded bangles and earrings.herve leger

    She was among a host of stars at the annual event, which was hosted by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Centre.herve leger dresses

    Singer Christina Aguilera sang during the evening's entertainment, as did rock singer-songwriter Linda Perry.Herve Leger dress online

    Paris Hilton was also in attendance in an elegant red dress, accompanied by her latest beau Doug Reinhardt. Sharon Osbourne attended with daughter Kelly, both clad in rock-chic black.

    Burlesque dancer Dita von Teese was faithful to her signature 1940s style in an vintage-look prom dress.herve leger dress sale

    And Samantha Ronson ensured the celebrations continued as DJ at the after-show party.

    Previously known as Women’s Night, the event raises much-needed funds for the women-specific services of the LA Gay and Lesbian Centre.Herve Leger outlet

    The centre said: 'It continues to fulfill the purpose of its founder by inspiring women to participate in civil rights and social service causes, by showcasing the accomplishments of women leaders.'Herve Leger 2012

    Miss Stone hosted a live auction that included items donated by Bette Midler, Pink, Gwen Stefani and Alicia Keys.Cheap Herve Leger

    Programmes and services supported by An Evening with Women include women’s health, legal assistance, domestic violence prevention and education, cultural programmes, self-enrichment courses, social events and discussion groups.www.herveleger2012cheap...

    Michael vs. LeBron? It's a match made for video

    Michael and Magic versus Kobe and LeBron?

    Sounds like a dream matchup, and it could be coming to a video game console near you.jordan heels for women

    With USA Basketball and 2K Sports forming a partnership, fans can see what happens when the amazing 1992 Dream Team goes up against this year's Olympic gold medal winner once NBA 2K13 hits the shelves this fall.Nike Air Force One Heels

    Never mind that it's not quite the real thing, more fuel is about to be added to the debate. Not that there really is a debate in Michael Jordan's mind.nike heels

    "We'll never know, but let's talk about it," Jordan said on a conference call. "I know Kobe (Bryant) said some things early on and I responded to those. The '92 Dream Team, I felt, was a more well-rounded basketball team."nike heels for women

    It's hard to argue, considering the 1992 Dream Team had Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird leading a group that is widely considered the greatest collection of talent ever assembled.nike high heels That team included 11 future Hall of Famers, won its six Olympic games by an average of more than 43 points en route to the gold medal and never was challenged the way this year's team was by Spain in the gold medal game, with the Americans squeezing out a 107-100 victory.

    Then again, that's a testament to the global growth of the sport that the 1992 team spurred, leading to an influx of foreign talent in the NBA.

    The `92 team boasted arguably the greatest player of all time in Jordan and greatest point guard in Magic Johnson, not to mention Larry Bird and dominant centers in Patrick Ewing and David Robinson.nike dunk heels If the most recent group had a weakness, it was in the middle, with Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and Blake Griffin sitting out with injuries. Throw in the fact that Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose missed the games, too, and the Americans weren't quite fully loaded.

    Still, they brought plenty of ammunition to London, with LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Bryant leading the way. And even with some stars missing, there still was talk that this year's team could be as good as the one that stormed through Barcelona two decades earlier.nike sb heels Bryant fueled the debate when he told reporters during training in Las Vegas they could take a game from the 1992 team if they met in their primes.

    Even though Bryant didn't say the current stars would win a series, the comment drew sharp replies from members of the 1992 team. Jordan told The Associated Press back then that he "absolutely laughed" and said there's "no comparison" which team is better.nike dunk sb heels

    This time, he wasn't quite as blunt.nike heels sandals

    "I just felt like we had enough size that we could contend with the 2012 team," Jordan said. "I think one of the things the 2012 team lacked was size.nike sandale heels We probably would have attacked them from inside and outside, and our defense would have been pretty much solidified with the shot-blockers as well as perimeter defensive players.

    "I think those guys were much more athletic than maybe we were at that particular point, but I would like to think we were a little bit smarter and well-groomed about playing at that level of basketball. Honestly, I don't think we would have had problems with them as much as they probably would have had (with us).jordan heels I think our team would have been a lot better in terms of all-around basketball."

    There's no way to know for sure, of course. There's no time machine that can transport the 1992 team to today or the 2012 team back 20 years, so the video game might be the next best thing. If nothing else, it'll give the debate another platform once the game is released on Oct. 2.nike jordan high heels

    The idea of seeing Jordan going against Kobe or James should intrigue fans, even if they're the ones at the controls and the players are in graphic form. Right?cheap jordan heels 2012

    The numbers indicate they would. Jason Argent, 2K Sports' vice president of marketing, said he didn't have the online statistics but the company sold about 5.5 million units of the 2K11 game, and another 4 million units for the 2K12 game, which was impacted by last season's NBA lockout lockout.cheap jordan high heels

    Even so, the company wasn't planning to include the 1992 and 2012 U.S. teams.jordan heels 2012

    He said Jay-Z provided the push.

    The rapper and part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets is serving as the game's executive producer, and he insisted in a meeting that those Olympic teams be included. He also helped get Charles Barkley to sign on and be included.

    "He put in a call to Charles, himself, and helped us work an agreement to use him in the game," Argent said.jordan high heels

    One player who won't be represented in the game is Scottie Pippen. Argent said they simply couldn't reach an agreement.nike heels 2012

    As for which team was better - 1992 or 2012? Jordan thinks it's just beginning.jordan women heels

    "The only way it can end is to lace them back up and play against them in 2012, but I don't think that's going to happen," Jordan said, laughing. "Just let the debate begin."

    Teammates cherish time spent with their hero

    "Most people would love to meet their childhood hero.

    But for many of the younger players on the Seattle Mariners, they got to play alongside him. And as the marathon that is a baseball season wore on, that opportunity and privilege to wear the same uniform as a man they idolized growing up never once grew stale or routine.

    The simple sight of Ken Griffey Jr. in the clubhouse made them all as giddy as 12-year-olds.ken griffey jr shoes

    So on the day that Griffey announced his retirement, those players already were reminiscing about the time they spent with the greatest player in Mariners history, a player whom they grew up idolizing.

    "It was amazing," infielder Matt Tuiasosopo said.ken griffey shoes 2012 "In the six years I've played in the organization, the last year and a half has been the best of my career, just coming here to the clubhouse every day knowing I'd get to be with a guy like Griffey, who I grew up watching and wanting to be like."

    How much did the Woodinville High grad want to be like him?ken griffey shoes

    "Every day me and all my friends would go out in our cul de sac just up the street from my house and play with a little tennis ball, and we would all act like him," he said. "I wasn't even a lefty, but I would act like him from the right side. We loved him, the Bone (Jay Buhner) and Edgar (Martinez)."

    You didn't have to be from the Northwest to grow up loving griffeys.

    "Coming from Australia, he was one of the handful of guys you could relate to being a young kid," pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith said. "He had a huge impact on the game in Australia."

    Rowland-Smith made his major league debut on June 22, 2011, and the first batter he faced was Griffey, then with the Reds. He struck him out swinging.ken griffey shoes sale

    "To come in and get to face him and talk to him about a few years later was a cool experience," Rowland-Smith said. "All I remember is that I got ahead of him and trying to throw a curveball as hard as I could. It bounced, and he swung.cheap ken griffey shoes I walked off, and I could hear the groans from the crowd cause they wanted to see him hit a home run. But it was a special moment for me."

    Then again he will view the whole time with Griffey as special."

    Griffey's bat far more troublesome than his nap

    "All the squalor about Ken Griffey Jr. reportedly being asleep in the clubhouse during a game last week at Safeco Field was interesting, but let's not forget the real issue at play.

    The problem hanging over the 2010 Mariners is not sleeping players, it's slumbering bats.griffeys 2012

    This Seattle ballclub hasn't just been bad offensively, it's been historically awful. Its current pace of 3.29 runs per game would be the worst in franchise history, breaking the mark of 3.44 runs in 1983.

    Even with two home runs on Sunday, the Mariners are on pace for just 63 this season. The club record for fewest long balls in a year is 97 set in 1978.

    This team is batting .229, well below the record low of .240 in 1983.cheap griffeys

    We could go on, but you get the point. This M's offense has been stunningly bad. When the Mariners said we should "Believe Big," I trust they weren't talking about believing we were going to see the biggest offensive flop in the franchise's 34-year run.

    And while that blame can go many directions, it definitely begins with designated hitters Griffey and Mike Sweeney.griffey shoes

    The concept of going with defensive-oriented players who are light on offense doesn't carry over to the DH spot, where there is no glove-first excuse. These guys get paid to do one thing and they're not doing it.king griffey shoes

    You want sad numbers, the Mariners' DH position has produced a .185 batting average, a .248 on-base percentage and a .210 slugging percentage."

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