A Tangy Slice of Web 2.0

A Random Walk Through Web 2.0 and Online Marketing

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  • Unusual Unica bucks business blogging routine, retires blog

    Posted by David Karp on October 11, 2007

    Sometimes the tone here at the ‘Slice can be a little down. So few businesses seem to know what they’re doing with social media marketing, so many techniques are overblown, so much to criticize. But the other day, I ran across evidence that some people are getting it, and doing something about it.

    After a bit more than a year, Unica is retiring their corporate blog. CMO Carol Meyers writes, with my emphasis:

    Why are we ending The Marketers’ Consortium? The Marketers’ Consortium did meet our initial goals (no, this is not sugar-coating for the public view). We have actually had more visitors than we ever anticipated and a steady stream of regular readers. But when we weighed the return to Unica and value to our customers against the investment of time and resources, we realized the blog was not the wisest investment for us right now.

    Brava, I say! Way to go for recognizing an underwhelming program and conserving your resources for more impactful things. Too many blog for no reason other than they think they should, then keep blogging because they don’t want to look like quitters. You can substitute all kinds of things for “blog” and “blogging” in that line.

    That said, I think Unica did it pretty much right. They chose a topic close to their business and they got good writers to add good content. And they measured it. Given the line of business they’re in, it would be pretty embarrassing not to, but many cobblers’ children run barefoot out there. As you mull this lesson and ask yourself if blogs are right for your business, I’ll leave you with Unica’s three blogging lessons:

    1) Blogs may not rock your world

    2) Blogs are not free

    3) Blogs should deliver a return on investment

    Study them and learn.

    Posted in Random Thoughts | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

    Some atwitter

    Posted by David Karp on October 6, 2007

    While Frank was wading into the trenches of the Facebook vs Linkedin wars (my personal scorecard: jobs scored through Facebook: 0, dates scored through Linkedin: 0) I was trying to to figure out what the heck is the deal with this Twitter thing. Everybody is talking about it and nobody over a certain age seems to have any idea what the fuss is all about.

    Twitter is a site that lets you very easily post a brief statement of whatever you’re doing at that particular moment. (my first post was “joining twitter”) You can update this as often as you like and you can look at what other people are doing at that moment or what they’ve been doing recently. You can “follow’ people to receive a feed of what they’re up to on an ongoing basis. There are some tools that let you use Twitter from mobile phones and let you implant Twitter information in other sites, including Facebook. (Where, by the way, the entirely of Twitter’s functionality is available in just one of the hundreds of widgets available. More of Facebook later)

    I might not be explaining this very well, but please take my word for it, this is terribly, terribly, addictive and could easily soak up all the spare time in the universe. How? Why? You’ll just have to try it.

    By way of example, I present the Twitter profile of one Sockington. According to his (?) bio, “I am Jason Scott’s Cat.” As of this writing, Sockington says “Can’t talk now. Too busy licking.” and has 86 followers. Make that 87. At this rate, by the end of the year easily 100 people will have signed up to know what Jason’s cat is doing right now.

    What does this mean for businesses? Besides that you should seriously consider banning your employees from using it at work, not much that I can figure out. There seems to be nothing on Twitter that even smells like a business model or a way to monetize the millions of hypnotized followers they seem to have acquired. But if you can create a platform where people post information multiple times a day and check that information almost constantly, you’ve definitely got something of value on your hands.

    Let’s think a little more outside this admittedly squsihy box. Is there a place in a business setting or more importantly in b2b marketing for this kind of ultrapresence? It’s nice to know which of your co-workers is online or out of the office using your IM tool or intranet application. Would it be helpful to know that at this particular instant, Janice in accounting is “working on that jerk David’s unintelligible expense report?” Maybe. I’m sure there are control freak managers who would love it.

    But what if you could get that kind of immediate feedback on business transactions? Like FedEx tracking but even more granular? 11:52am, your package is being crushed under 44 other packages in the back of a hot truck stuck in traffic on 128 South. 2:35pm, your payment is earning interest for the bank before its actually credited to the vendor. 3:48pm, your CRM consultant is closing out his day-trading positions.

    The trouble with Twitter is that you have to actually spend the time to tell it what you’re doing, which is an inherent drag on productivity. When people are busy in real life, they use Twitter less, but when they are bored at their computers, they can update it all day.

    My modest proposal for business Twitter (bwitter? twib2ber? Frank, what’s our budget for buying domain names?) certainly depends on information systems putting the real-time status into the system without wasting workers’ time, but what’s to stop people from wasting their time looking at this matrix-like feed of nanoinformation?

    Will Twitter ever be more than a time-sink? Will business find a use for it? Stay tuned…

    Posted in Social Media Innovation | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

    B2B Social Media Mogul

    Posted by fmdays on September 30, 2007

    It is hard to ignore LinkedIn and its 10 million-plus users. It seems like a day doesn’t pass without an old college classmate, former coworker or late night business school study group partner reconnecting via LinkedIn.

    http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=press_releases_041107

    What I like about LinkedIn:

    1. Easy access to vCards for the most important nodes of my professional network. I can forget about Outlook Contacts when I have a virtual repository that is always up-to-date. (What happened to Plaxo?)
    2. “Who has viewed your profile” – Despite the uncertainty of who exactly viewed my profile, I am always curious about why the random person from random company is “checking me out”. Many times it is the precursor to an invitation from that long lost friend or colleague.
    3. “People you may know” – I marvel at the their power to predict people who I already may know. They range from a roommate of my Marketing Analyst to a candidate I interviewed six months ago. In the end, I can see how the more nodes in the network make it a more powerful tool. This is also a creative way to get me to link with additional people.

    LinkedIn proves social media can work in the B2B world. If history repeats itself, we’ll see many more innovative sites like LinkedIn that capture the attention of millions of career-oriented B2B types.

    Any site that you like?

    Posted in Social Media Innovation | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

    Further evidence of the decline and fall of live events

    Posted by David Karp on September 27, 2007

    This turgid PC World headline popped out of my newsfeed this morning: Startup Company Asked to Leave Demo Show. Naturally, I had to click on this and find out what the fuss was all about. Here’s the skinny:

    A scheduled presenter, mEgo at the semi-annual DEMOfall conference was summarily thrown out after it was learned that the company broke the rules by unveiling its product two weeks early at the TechCrunch40 conference.

    Ok, seems fair enough. The first rule of DEMO is, show at DEMO first. mEgo (gotta love the interCap there) broke the rule so DEMO showed them the door.

    But that’s not my point. My point is that the only reason I am blogging – or even thinking – about DEMO and mEgo is that mEgo broke DEMO’s rules. This fancy conference of first-ever product announcements simply didn’t make my radar screen. mEgo’s product, whatever it might be, would have been completely unknown to me. Am I out of touch? Maybe. Did mEgo engineer this cynical but effective PR move? Hard to tell. Their site and blog show no evidence of either righteous indignation or contrition.

    But you know who does get it here? TechCrunch40, that’s who. That’s not just because they have an interCap. TechCrunch40 is the blog that mEgo announced with before DEMO, and this “controversy” is all over their site. As the challenger going after some of DEMO’s established market, TechCrunch has everything to gain by not only scooping DEMO with a prior mEgo announcement, but also by making a fuss about it after mEgo gets kicked out of DEMO.

    What’s the takeaway here for smart companies? Big live events have long lead times, and you can only lose your product’s launch virgininty once. Choose your partners wisely, and don’t be afraid to use all the tools of PR to your advantage.

    Posted in Random Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Customer Advocacy on the Web: How Do You Measure It?

    Posted by fmdays on September 27, 2007

    I am a scientist at heart and am always pressing my people for better ways to understand the effectiveness of program spends. This morning, I found a great series of articles by Heidi Cohen on ClickZ about “Retention Marketing”.

    http://www.clickz.com/3626900

    She offers some advice on how to track the effectiveness of your customer advocacy programs including:

    • Collating feedback from all touchpoints
    • Keeping an eye on your message board traffic
    • Staying on top of key third party discussion sites – you can buy tools to automate this
    • Tallying the number of customer referrals

    As she reminds us, your customers can talk about you in many places and it is important to understand the impact of your retention and referral marketing.

    Posted in Random Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

    A Web 2.0 Tag Cloud

    Posted by David Karp on September 25, 2007

    We’ve moved

    Find us at www.tangyslice.com

    I was killing time waiting for hideous traffic on 128 to subside so I could get to the mall to buy espresso cups, and I came across this Web 2.0 tag cloud on wikipedia. I was researching tag clouds, because I think they’re cool, but I realized that this particular example was something worth pointing out here on Tangy Slice, and the color scheme matches well, too.

    Web 2.0 Tag Cloud by Luca Cremonini

    For businesses and businesspeople thinking, “Hey, we’ve got to do some of this Web 2.0 stuff!” this is a good place to illustrate that the definition is fuzzy (cloud-like, get it?) and it includes many concepts, not all of which are really applicable or profitable for every business. If you’re too lazy to come up with your own Web 2.0 marketing strategy, you can always just make your own tag cloud here. I bet it’ll look really cool in your next powerpoint deck.

    Posted in Tags | Tagged: , , | 31 Comments »

    We’re gonna party like its 1999

    Posted by fmdays on September 25, 2007

    I read in the Wall Street Journal this morning that Google and Microsoft are in an epic battle for the hearts and minds (and ad dollars) of Facebook. Besides not knowing who to cheer for, my mind drifted to Geocities and Tripod (what ever happened to them?). Then in the “Money and Investing” section, Dennis K. Berman offers a cautionary tale based on the rise and fall of an earlier generation of community sites.

    Did you know that only nine of the top 20 most trafficked sites on Aug 2003 are still on that list?

    The author highlights the need for continual innovation to keep the community fresh and alive – sensible advice for prevent users from chasing the next interesting thing (I didn’t say fad) after graduating from high school or college.

    Posted in Random Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    The Great Graveyard of the Blogosphere

    Posted by fmdays on September 24, 2007

    With all the current hype for blogging, sometimes the cold, hard facts get lost. According to research from Gartner Group, the number of abandoned blogs will topped 200 million in late 2006.

    Jokes about creating a blog to impress your Mom aside (Hi Mom:-), they are predicting that the number of blogs will peak at 100 million in 2007 before dropping back to around 30 million. Nothing to sneeze at but a drop in the bucket for the global Web.

    Link

    What does this mean to the average B2B marketer? Content and community seem to be the key. Do you have something relevant to say? Is there an audience who cares enough to read and discuss your topic? While I presently enjoy discussing the subtleties of postal data quality can I find an online quorum?

    In the end, the basic drivers of successful Internet marketing still apply (event with Web 2.0) – content is king and community is his queen.

    The barriers to starting a blog are so low that just about anyone can have (and adandon one). So what are you waiting for?

    Posted in Random Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Data fetishists and people who love them

    Posted by David Karp on September 24, 2007

    There’s been a lot of swirl around Ian Ayres, an econometrician and law professor at Yale, and his new book, Super Crunchers, and I’m generally in favor of it. Ayres advocates using data, not intuition, to make decisions. “duh” you say? Me too, but apparently there are lots of people who prefer their own intneral compass to the votes of customers. It’s no coincidence that the issue of Newsweek that reviewed Ayres’ book has Alan Greenspan on the cover.

    In this wired world, we’re swimming in data – log files, CRM, registration forms, hits, clicks, sessions, the works – but not enough decision makers have the desire or the tools to turn those data (yes, they’re plural) into actionalbe information. They see number crunching as easy as miss out on the most important part, the experimental design. A recent article in Newsweek about Super Crunchers contains an instructive example.

    Ayres chose the title of his book by running two Google ads that appeared in random order when someone searched for phrases like “data mining.” The decision was made by the plurality who clicked on the ad for “Super Crunchers” rather than the competing title, “The End of Intuition.”

    People looking for an easy way out will see this as justification to test everything with anonymous masses, let majority rule and never speak with another individual human again. But they will find themselves in a poultry-ovum priority quandry – how do you choose which candidate names to test without first testing those names? And it gets worse – how do you know if Google adwords is really polling the right people, in this case potential buyers of your book? Is the result with 500 hits really better than the one with 450 hits?

    You can take the intuition out of evaluating an experiment – and I think you should – but you can’t take the essential creativity out of designing a good experiment in the first place.

    Remember, friends don’t let friends crunch numbers blind.

    Posted in Random Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »