Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 5, 2010 12:25 PM
Consumer Reports' State of the Net survey for 2010 was released this week, and it's already sending ripples through cyberspace.
The bottom line shouldn't come as a huge surprise. As social networks expand, consumers are divulging greater amounts of personal information than ever before.
Opportunities for advertisers to target marketing in more granular and effective ways are increasing—exponentially—along with opportunities for cybercriminals to steal identities and personal data.
Facebook, in particular, is creating safety issues for the average user. Even this morning, the world's #1 social network was scrambling to fix a bug that exposed users' live chats.
According to Consumer Reports, one in four Facebook users either don't use, or aren’t aware, of Facebook's privacy controls. CR's technology editor, Jeff Fox, is concerned about the behavioral impact of Facebook and other social networks on the average user.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 5, 2010 11:25 AM
DIY social network provider Ning is reinventing itself, marking an end to the free version of the Silicon Valley startup that hedging its future on what it sees as an estimated $4 billion premium social media opportunity.
Ning is relaunching with a new business model based on multi-tiered memberships: Ning Pro, Plus and Mini.
The struggling platform, which allowed individuals and organizations to brand and manage their own social networks, recently saw the exit of CEO and co-founder Gina Bianchini and the elevation of former COO Jason Rosenthal to CEO.
Rosenthal, besides laying off 40% of Ning’s workforce, is championing the premium model (which it promises will stay ad-free) and forcing Ning’s 2.3 million users to pony up or move on.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 21, 2010 09:55 AM
Yelp and Citysearch, the leaders in the social listings category have a new neighbor, Buzz.com, with a family pedigree that deserves attention – AT&T.
AT&T is tapping into the fact taht yelping and buzzing are now second nature to many online users. "We recognize that people are already having conversations online about the best places to go and businesses to call. Buzz.com makes it even easier to discover the businesses your friends recommend," explains Charles Hornberger, GM of Buzz.com. "Although the site is still in beta, we're very excited to open it up to anyone who wants to see how we're approaching 'social search' for the local marketplace."
There’s been considerable buzz about Buzz.com as it grew in private beta. However, having the same name as Yahoo Buzz and Google Buzz may confuse consumers.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on April 19, 2010 09:14 AM
By now, everyone knows the advantages a brand can leverage from crowdsourcing. First, theoretically, by crowdsourcing a brand gains access to a wide and diverse range of ideas. A brand that pays attention can even use such crowdsourced responses as valuable market research, indicating what consumers really think of it. Also, through crowdsourcing, a brand's potential consumers may develop a sense of brand ownership, which leads to better brand-owner/brand-consumer engagement. This is why crowdsourcing is hot among brand marketers. But let's take a look at the flip side: why crowdsourcing can be a terrible overall method for branding?Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on April 16, 2010 01:42 PM
By chalking up its 100 millionth user, Twitter can no longer be denied as a media platform that's here to stay. Yet many struggle to see the value in communicating in 140 charters or less, including Twitter itself. Coinciding with its 100 millionth user, Twitter this week unveileda number of initiatives to leverage the brand to generate revenue. For Twitter, "making money was now a primary goal."
It's somewhat odd to think that a service with 100 million users has no solid way to turn a profit, handsome or not. (As Stephen Colbert teased Twitter co-founder Biz Stone during an interview, "So, I assume that 'Biz' in 'Biz Stone' does not stand for 'Business Model'.") Then again, that might be exactly why Twitter has cruised to 100 million users.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on April 15, 2010 08:15 AM
What is the dollar value of a single Facebook "fan" to a brand? Five dollars? Twenty? A nickel?
Stop wondering because Vitrue has "developed the first-ever published Facebook fan valuation." The Atlanta-based firm, which launched in 2006 with a user-based advertising platform, today bills itself as a "comprehensive social media management" company with just the kind of deep resources to pull off such an ambitious project.
Its research tapped into "over 45 million fans" of brands on Facebook, and sampled "varying pages from digital entertainment to retail to B2B to CPG to publishers to quick serve restaurants" to try to put a dollar value on a fan. The magic number: $3.60, about the current commodities market price of a pound of copper or a single In-N-Out Burger Double Double. And this valuation is about as meaningful to most people as those latter comparisons. However, that won't stop it from being repeated—a lot.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on April 13, 2010 02:58 PM
Join a social network, they said. Be creative about it, they said. Great brand-building move, they said. Swedish furniture and lifestyle juggernaut Ikea is now maybe wishing it had never heard of Facebook. The brand is certainly offering its cautionary tale of how an initially trumpeted social networking brand promotion can turn into a brand eroding nightmare. Ikea would like to "un-fan" Facebook.
It all started last year when Ikea went beyond the normal corporate identity step of creating a brand page for users to become a fan of. Ikea leveraged Facebook's photo-tagging feature on the personal profile of its Malmo store manager. The manager's photo album contained photos of the showroom, but there was a catch; the first Facebook user to tag his or her name on a pictured piece of furniture received it, for free. Cnet lauds the genius:
"Facebook being what it is, word got out and needy, enthusiastic Swedes begged for more pictures so that they could tag themselves to a new sofa, a new bed, or a new vase... [soon] thousands of Swedes were spreading pictures of IKEA showrooms all around the personal galaxy known as their profile pages."
With one tweak that cost the brand almost nothing, Ikea had devised a genius brand promotion. Then things started falling apart.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 2, 2010 10:49 AM
Travelocity’s iconic “Roaming Gnome” is roaming around the social media site Chatroulette carrying signs like, "This would be better if we were in Rio." The gnome’s job is to encourage chatters on the site to consider travel.
Chatroulette is the brainchild of Russian teenager, Andrey Ternovskiy. Users communicate with strangers via webcam. The site has received considerable attention – both praise and criticism. A reference on The Daily Show by Jon Stewart solidified the brand’s standing in pop culture.
The average Chatroulette chat lasts barely seconds, as you are quickly and often “nexted” for passing on a potential interaction. It’s a big winner in the teen/tween market, but stories swirl about it becoming a digital peep parlor.Continue reading...