A seemingly innocuous post on Google today regarding long forgotten service Measure Map.
Thank you Tech Crunch, this was a phenomenal bit of news that could have been lost in the ether.
However, is it really so innocuous. Let’s see what the service does….in exchange for distributing a Google Analytics pixel on your blog, Google can now offer you stats about your blog interaction. Seems relatively benign, however let’s extrapolate the value and just for fun talk about some of the companies and “spaces” that this can meander Google into.
By allowing users to categorize their blog and merely just by putting the pixel on, Google can aggregate even more signals at a higher frequency about a user interaction with content (in exchange for data reporting).
Possible ancillary / competitive services:
1) Well there is Digg. True it is user that contributes to a portal regarding a news stories worthiness. All Google really needs to do is an opt in service and portal overlay for “find the latest popular stories on Twitter.”
2) There is also Omniture and other web tracking companies (but this one has been happening for some time)
3) What about a BuzzLogic effect whereby Google offers data back to advertisers regarding popular blog posts (on an opt in basis from the blog owner of course)
4) How about Comscore and other publisher-side measurement services (Compete, Alexa) and offering publisher side data on what is transpiring on my blog?
As a note, I am continually impressed with Google’s fastidious detail to aggregating signals.
Update: CEO Jason Calacanis was nice enough to respond to our post below:
fyi: we have a user lab at mahalo at did 75 hours of testing over the last year. All of our site changes are considered deeply with a combination of user testing, user feedback, and metrics testing.
In terms of who’s responding there are normal folk in there, user experience folks, and designers. I would go read the 200+ comments and 50+ notes on the image a day later. Some are very considered, and the feedback while not a perfect roadmap is very helpful.
Talking to users is NEVER a bad idea. Listening to everything they say? well, obviously you don’t want to do taht or you have chaos.
Jason, thanks kindly for responding to this blog; it is well appreciated. I agree talking to users is never a bad idea; I said as much in my customer service as the new marketing post.
And I agree that if you get user feedback from UI folks and designers, it is priceless. So I will reflect that in the post.
However, two things:
1) I think there is a user fatigue that comes with too much messaging. If everyone twitter’d or flickr’d all their site designs a user would become deluged with noise.
2) You have to ask or beg the question of the feedback: How often do you use Maholo? If not the feedback itself is noise.
– Talking to users is never a bad idea
– Processing their feedback correctly for the product roadmap is crucial
– Who is the target audience for Mahalo and have you reached out to them effectively through social media circles?
Thanks so much for responding.
I’ve commented before on Mahalo.
Upon a post by their founder on his blog, I am exceedingly worried for their investors.
The title of the post is Social Media Focus Groups as a value for Twitter and other quick-response, signal-frequency services. Most who read this blog know I feel the value of Twitter is in labeling the data with statistics for personal review and reducing the noise.
In terms of the blog post referred here, I couldn’t disagree more on both the use for Twitter and the explanation for the social media focus group.
First, on the social media focus groups, anyone who does online site optimization knows that what users do is very different then what users say. That is nothing new.
Second, on using Twitter and other such services to gain feedback, probably best to use this avenue to comment on large news than rudimentary page designs lest people stop paying attention to your posts. Do I really care if I use a service whether some guide thing is on the left or some links are on the right? Probably not, so I would label that message as spam going forward. If you released a new service that added value, told me about it that way, and I found it immediate value, sure I would be accepting of that message.
Further, as I’ve talked about in past posts, “who” is responding is just as important as what they do. The folks responding to a little usability focus groups on Twitter or even Flickr are probably not the audience that you need to gain and or optimize for to increase growth. Except if these users are UI or design experts that are offering feedback (thank you for the correction).
So for those that follow this blog, we ran a post last month that called out Neilsen and Clickz for publishing a report on paid text links by spend that could not have been true.
The title of the post: Neilsen Online: At what point are you embarrassed?
I happened to click on that story today, because it’s skyrocketing up the hit chart today on this blog.
I went back to the Neilsen data source on Clickz.
And to my shock and astonishment, I found a disclaimer around TableofSix being listed as advertiser #10.
It reads, “*After these data were published, Nielsen Online said it learned that the impression counts for Table for Six were inflated, citing an ad collection issue with its sponsored link impressions on MySpace.com. It said the issue has been fixed and the data should be normalized effective the week ending April 20, 2008. “
Could we please get a thank you over at IMO for qa’ing your data Neilsen. Next time, you do the homework.
Good post to write for a Web 2.0-the-gold-is-somewhere-around-here-let-me-sell-you-a-pick-ax Friday.
If anything these sites are even gaining more influence (see graph)
(I through in Valleywag for good measure.)
TechCrunch and Mashable, through the depth and velocity of their coverage, provide a fairly good sounding board for companies looking to acquire talent. If I want to work at a company with buzz, I can just go to either of these sites and scroll through the non-distinct list of sites and generally get a sense of something as a developer that might amuse or even challenge me to code.
However, from the perspective as someone who is frequently consulted, these sites provide a fair bit of disservice to the business side of the equation (investor, start-up CEO, etc.), yet are consistently heralded by the same folks.
Here are some things to consider when distributing or vying for space on these rags:
– If you are looking for a way to “build traffic” to your site, TechCrunch/Mashable are not the ways to do it. The sampling size of traffic that goes there is extremely tech savvy, (i.e.not the audience that Google built their business on)
– If you are company looking to shoehorn your way into a vertical or market by way of a unique feature, your unique feature set just got exposed, probably to most of your competitors. In terms of TechCrunch, they’ll list your competitors on the same post as the one they write about you.
– Your customer service level (through your Contact Us email or fielding calls from any modicum of folks that merely want to sell you a service) probably just increased and disrupted your focus.
– And, not finally, because of the velocity and frequency of coverage of these blogs, brand awareness generated here can be shortlived
Each day I field questions regarding online marketing strategy with someone that says, “Well, shouldn’t I really do blog marketing and try to get on TechCrunch.”
I answer with the following questions:
“Do you already know your metrics?”
“What is your goal of distributing your consumer technology to a tech industry blog?” (Hopefully, the answer is acquire funding or engineers)
“Are you ready for all your competitors to reverse engineer your product for each key feature set and to review the pedigree of your management team?”
If the answer is yes, we know our metrics, we are scaling nicely and we need resources (money or people), then by all means do the pr dance with these blogs. If not, wait on that until it can bring you more value than thrill of seeing your company’s name in lights.
More commentary on this:
From tech luminary Josh Kopelman
From the first link on Google.
Quote: “I’m thrilled to join the RazorGator team and I look forward to building a great company,” said J. Michael Arrington, COO of RazorGator. “The market for event tickets has exploded over the last few years, and I believe that RazorGator will become the leading company in the $2 billion plus secondary event ticket market.”
We’ll get back to that.
I don’t have a tech degree and I don’t purport to know anything about scaling and load balancing a system — though I understand the impact it has on a product.
In terms of the challenges of load balancing, I often tell a start-up, “Want to hire a quality CTO, find someone who scaled a load balancing system.”
One, none us work at Twitter.
Two, we don’t know the current technical dependencies of the system.
No one is saying to Michael, “Hey Stubhub got taken out, what happened with RazorGator?!” In fact, I have no idea about anything in regards to RazorGator….maybe the url scared people off. Who knows?
And further, in public, what is a developer supposed to do? Come armed with a powerpoint that states that his company is going to have trouble scaling. Every company manages the press.
Developers are good at developing, business folks are good at, well, business, and evangelists are good at evangelizing. Maybe Blaine Cook wasn’t a good evangelist. Maybe neither was Michael Arrington at RazorGator. Who knows?
One thing is clear, controvery and page views are the ballywick of Michael Arrington. Nice job in that regard.
Note, just created a new category on our blog: “Managing the press.”