Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

The vast potential of LinkedIn’s Find a Foursome…

Fresh off LinkedIn’s admission of commanding an outrageous $75 CPM on some of their advertising, I was hit with a newsfeed update this morning of someone in my network joining the group “Find a Foursome!”

If ever there was the absolute perfect application/group marketing vehicle for LinkedIn I think we’ve stumbled onto it here.

There is even a notice to “add all all your “contact” email addresses,” personal and professional. Genius, shear genius. Wait, so will my email addresses then be spammed, or will it serve to create a list for golf products and promotions…I don’t know yet, but the noisey-spammy email is worth it for me to see how this will turn out. I don’t even like golf!

Now, since groups are managed by a user or series of users on LinkedIn, the platform is not open, and there is not a whole ton of functionality that can be done, but it will interesting to see how the dynamics of this group grow (or don’t grow for lack of ease of effort) and whether there are attempts to advertise (by LinkedIn or by users).

This is going to be fun to see play out. I don’t even know if this it a test group from LinkedIn itself. Keep your eye on this one.



More whipping on Lending Tree, more ads on Scrabulous

Played Scrabulous today on Facebook for the first time.

Through 4pm today, I’ve been served 20 Lending Tree ads.

A few problems:

– I don’t own a home
– I don’t need to refinance a home
– I’m playing a game
– There is no frequency cap

And I traced the ad back to’s leadback program. I visited Lending Tree earlier this week and did not take an action on their site.

How is this relevant?
How am I in market?

And Yahoo couldn’t blow away their numbers. Amazing….

Update (4:45): I am now up to 25 ads vs. my cookie…industry standard is 6 per consumer per day.

Random: They should add supporting marketing material to the Scrabulous brand logo that reads, “Where smart people go for online dating?”

Update: (5:15): I’m up to 35 Lending Tree ads with absolutely zero shot for a conversion. I wonder if they have an age filter in there. Cubix or Social Media, but be making a killing. Simplyamazing. As a note, right after that date comment I got a Trojan ad (that’s contextual, perfect)

Final Update: As of 10pm last evening, I had been served 61 LendingTree ads, at which point I became inmarket for EDU ads and UofP through leadback. I guess there was a time-of-day ruleset.

Google trumps Facebook: HuddleChat hits the factory floor

Have you been following the mini-drama of HuddleChat?

Michael Arrington and Techcrunch has a write-up and opinion Google’s decision to shudder the HuddleChat app from it’s app engine platform.

I am in stark agreement with Google’s decision and disagreement with TechCrunch’s opinion.

This is a classic case of keeping separation of church and state. Google’s desire is to be the advertising platform for all media on the web. Any notion that they are moving further upstream always comes with backlash from the community, and rightfully so. One might argue that these are just the moves that Google makes with purchases like YouTube and even Google News. However, these are all just plays to have a navigation platform to good content.

The move by Google is the exact inverse of how Facebook is treating and working with their app community. Nary a week goes by that, a Facebook “app” comes out that competes directly with developers on their own platform. This is a dangerous road, public relations-wise for Facebook, though it may be a good business decision. One can see from Google’s movement hear on what seems like an innocous app (though it may have been a quick reverse engineering job) how seriously they take this issue.

Google’s business is in being the ad platform. This is a good decision on their part. Frankly, I can not see how anyone would think otherwise.


Building signals with Twitter (and for Google, with Digg)

Update: More on “Google looking to buy Digg, maybe..

What is Digg to Google? How about inmarket indicators for where display advertising is about to ramp up. Let’s call it Yahoo Buzz for Google?


I stumbled upon (no pun) the Twitter community page on Silicon Alley Insider this morning.

It was immediately then that I figured out how Henry Blodget was expecting to go up against Michael Arrington in tech news (or so I believe). Silicon Alley would use Twitter signals to identify newsworthy companies before TechCrunch (or so if my thesis again).

A common data aggregation and processing point for many companies, like Google, is building signals. In this case, signals are bits, sometimes incomplete, of data that a company coalesce together to create inference or data review. By understanding signal type, characterizing it, and monitoring its frequency, a data system or company–in this case a small one like Silicon Alley–can interpret actions before they happen.

In this case, Silicon Alley could here about Microsoft-Yahoo deal (through evaluating Twitter messages) before multiple sources from TechCrunch. Isn’t this also what Digg is somewhat about?

In a bigger more important, Twitter-type signals could be used to learn about a tsunami as it’s or before it’s happening.

The interpretation of signals in business and through communication on the Web (Twitter, blogs, etc) is surely a burgeoning industry and one that will get more press as computing infrastructure can manage more data in shorter timeframes. The challenge will be in accurately labeling the data in realtime so as to create meaningful interpretations.

More on signals and brand metrics here:

Web site tabs: Myprofile, Myfriends, Search…..Games?

I logged on to Trip Advisor today for the first time in awhile. There was awhile in my career for various competitive reasons I would visit Trip Advisor on weekly if not daily basis.

I have continued to log on, but log on sporadically.

Today, type the url into the browser bar, the page came up, I looked at the nav bar and found:
Home (ok that’s an easy one), Destinations (that means browse) and “Fun and Games?” What in the world?

By the way, the nav bar is a really easy way to see products that a web company are unveiling and promoting. Usually a product will get a nav bar location, once it’s proven and a promotion strategy is created for it.

Back to the title of this post, “Fun & Games?” How? Why?

It’s actually easy for a number of reasons given the convergence of a number of factors around online web development and publishing.

– Games are a great way to keep the user on a site and/or coming back to it. Do they have anything to do with the content? Well not always, but it serves as a branding and retention play for the site

– Games are relatively cheap to make; scratch that, game are very easy to copy. The production cost of a game is extremely cheap (probably as low as $5000 – $10K for a decent casual game with decent graphical treatment)

– Games increase time on the site: This is an important factor for brand advertising

– Games increase page views. Bonus that brand advertiser 1M page views per month and it really doesn’t cost you anything at this point.

Of course, this is nothing new. Back in 2003 or so, Orbitz (another travel site) introduced games as a component of a banner ad to increase brand awareness and drive better clickthrough rates.

However it seems that the breadth of sites doing this, in my unscientific review, is certainly increasing.

Some sites that I have noticed incorporating games into their content catalog:


iLike (which also profiles users based upon their games)

Windows Live (and it’s corresponding Live Club) (By the way, it much talked about how this club suffered poor industry PR as Comscore and others wrapped a users time in the club into search usage).

Seems like there is an opportunity for sites like iWin and Big Fish to develop an enterprise product. Or maybe this is a direction for some of the Facebook app game companies?

Facebook Chat: More advertising indicators and what’s on the roadmap

Facebook has now launched a chat product, though it appears to be a limited launch according to TechCrunch.

While this is certainly a service that will be valuable for the Facebook users, there a number of ancillary impacts this could have:

1) If this is successful, when does Facebook pick up an internet telephony client like Jaxtr (or build their own).

2) More inmarket indicators for Facebook. One of the benefits of IM is a very current stream of user information that can be monetized in the direct response world. This was a hallmark of AOL and ICQ. Seems like this could validate the business model of a company like Opinmind.

3) Given #2, how savvy does Microsoft investment look. Let’s forget the price for a second, everyday that Facebook doesn’t manage all of its ad inventory is another day it falls behind in the mega ad network space. (FYI, Google get more than half of their revenue from partners)

4) How does having a chat and other communication products impact app usage. Do apps start incorporating chat as a distribution point or part of their product or both?

5) Facebook states chat will not be interoperable to start. It will be interesting to see the perfect of market share takes over the coming quarters.

More to follow….

Did MySpace define the ceiling?

Let see if I have this right:

– MySpace has a little less than double the users that Facebook has.

– MySpace missed revenue projections of somewhere around $800M for 2007 

– And Facebook is worth $15B

Okay, makes sense.

Oh, and Slide is worth $500M.

No wonder the price of an engineer keeps going up.

Slide: Just one method of customer acquisition

Note: I’ve changed the name of this post to reflect app company customer acquisition as oppose to referencing an article. 

Techcrunch is running a story today about Slide posting fake reviews of their own apps.

For those in the space, Slide has been doing let’s call it below-the-collar (possibly -the-belt) moves like this in the space since the launch of the Facebook developer platform nearly a year ago.

Spoofing profiles, hammering new apps with fake users, etc. These things happen with any company.

For example, RockYou recently got scolded by MySpace for their methodology of messaging (I’m gingerly calling this spamming) users. Customer acquisition is an aggressive game based upon data review, specifically removing noise, from app usage data.

On the app review side, positive comments on about us pages, “hot chicks” validating, stronger brand marketing on app pages, these all drive usage.

All of these things going on in the social media space and app developers should be wary of them.

Maybe this deserves an other post at some point.

More on FriendFeed, everyone’s favorite darling….I’m coming around

I’m playing around with FriendFeed this morning because apparently you are not allowed to live in the “San Francisco network” if you don’t have an opinion on them. If you applaud them, well then you’re smart.

And I’m caving, I see the merit and Friendfeed is not really Dogpile. Got this one wrong; maybe.

The service fairly easy to use and I thought I would take a stab at providing the differentiation points between Friendfeed feed management and feed management within your Facebook profile.

It comes down to a few things:

1) Facebook is about me and then my friends. It is about self promotion through gimictry or more appropriately, which is unique or novel on my profile for me to poke someone.

Friendfeed is about your friends with you are the editor of your content.  There is a higher level of richness here that extends beyond anything an application housed in a confined environment can provide.

How the profile page on Friendfeed morphs will be very telling.

2) Friendfeed obviously integrates multiple outside services, Yelp,, YouTube — this takes the onus *off* of these contributing companies to solve muliple social network platforms. We already knew it was an easy management tool for the consumer, but, as the newsfeed is the key to application traffic on Facebook, this essentially hits at the highest value component for these services. It is in the best interest of all these services to promote Friendfeed; this is not the same as Facebook where the user must interact within Facebook’s walls.

3) Privacy. By interacting outside the Facebook environment I can control what is broadcast about me. While the fact that someone wrote on my wall creates interaction, I may not want to broadcast to friends I have not defined within networks.

If this post sounds anti-Facebook it’s not. It would be interesting to see the demographics of those that use Friendfeed. I imagine it’s techno-centric early adopters and probably a slightly older demographic that finds self promotion a bit too juvenile (though it is this self promotion that pushes Facebook usage).

Interesting to see how Friendfeed grows and whether Facebook acknowledges the functionality and incorporates it or not.

Should be fun.

RockYou CEO: Nice pricing model

I’m late to review this article on RockYou CEO Lance Tokuda. RockYou is a phenomenal company that is aggressive is product development to the tune of being the top app company going.

I say this because they arguably keep pace with Slide despite significantly more resouces at Slide.

Anyway Tokuda suggest a tax or usage model for app developers as a way for app developers to contribute to the platform they are leveraging.

That’s a good idea.