— blending the mix

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October, 2007 Monthly archive

Google has downed me to a PR4 in its latest round of changes :-(

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As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Facebook Debate and had a great time for several reasons which I wasn’t expecting.

There’s not much I can add to the many reviews of the debate itself, so, in a fit of madness sanity, I am going to abbreviate it all…bear with me, I’m not used to being concise… :-)

1) Hugh MacLeod is an awesome guy and it was great to meet him finally.

2) Damien Mulley and Robin Blandford are two guys as clever as they are great company to be in.

3) Despite it being the third largest network on Facebook, there are a lot of UK marketeers with a lot to learn.

4) Monetising Facebook was barely touched-on but is a massive can of worms (more on that later in the week).

5) Facebook is simply another platform within which we talk about social objects. We just talk using different tools on Facebook.

6) The more utility users get from Facebook, the less susceptible to advertising they will become – idiot advertisers/app developers beware 😉

7) If it took opening the developer platform to bring Facebook up to myspace’s size (in the UK at least), what else is up its sleeve now that myspace and bebo are opening up their doors too?

8) There is a definite corporate networking opportunity – people do business with people.

9) There NEEDS to be another conference looking at the monetisation of Facebook.

10) I was the ONE person in the room who DID land a job because of Facebook!

That’s my thoughts on the debate itself, but here are some wider thoughts that came from listening, watching and talking to a lot of people:

1) There are a vast amount of people out there who have no idea what Facebook is.
2) There are almost as many people out there who want to do something with Facebook but don’t know why.
3) There are quite a lot of people out there who understand Facebook and want to do something with it, but don’t know what.
4) There are loads of people people out there who are already doing something with Facebook and don’t know why.
5) There are a few people out there who are already doing something with Facebook and don’t know what to do now they have started.
6) There are a tiny amount of people out there who are already doing something on Facebook and actually understand why and what to do with it all.
7) KMP are on the right track – we are using sound business thinking when approaching all matters "Web 2.0". Phew.

There.

Done…other than to say, well done and thanks to the host, Paul Walsh of the BIMA who organised the event. The UK, as Facebook’s 3rd largest audience needs to understand more and hopefully this event will be the trigger for more.

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Steve Clayton point to Greg Stirling’s thoughts on the Microsoft buy-in to Facebook being about Live Search but I can’t help but think Greg’s quotation is wrong.

With the several billion-dollar investment and acquisitions MS has made recently in advertising and tying up with what Mr. Ballmer was saying about how Microsoft wants a significant stake in the multi-billion billion global advertising market ($60 if I recall rightly), I just can’t see how search alone is going to bring in the return that a $240 million investment requires.

On a simple level, it would require a fundamental shift in they way Facebook operates. I refuse to say the words "closed is the new open" but in this case I am ashamed to say it is relevant. 😉

Has Microsoft, with its 1.6% stake really got the influence over Facebook to push for the implementation of Live Search thereby allowing users to go and find content OUTSIDE of Facebook? I don’t think so. Facebook search might not be rocket science compared to Google but no search engine can understand Facebook better than that designed by the site’s very founders – especially not one which has taken such a pasting in terms of its ability to provide relevant results as Live search.

Let’s be honest, however good or bad Live search is, it has taken such a bashing by the critics that it is going to take a hell of a job convincing Facebook to permit its use as the search facility of choice.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing Microsoft, I find myself enjoying almost all the Live product suite – except search, because it quite simply doesn’t give me the results I know Google does. That said, Microsoft has bought itself into a significant position. Almost no other global players now have the ability to build a search and advertising platform based on our behaviour around social objects better than Microsoft does now.

I see Microsoft benefitting from the Facebook deal in one of three ways:

1) The Google Effect – cashing in
They hold out to see if Orkut bombs and Google decide it is better to buy Facebook at an inflated value than to miss out entirely. Microsoft then cash in their chips after learning how to advertise based on social interaction…unlikely.

2) Live Search and Social Context PPC – getting more revenue out of the same search
Microsoft learn about our interaction around "Social Objects" on social networks from everything they gleam out of Facebook. They then spruce-up Live Search to show far more relevant PPC ads based on so much more than keywords alone…getting wamer but unlikely…their portion of the search market is too small to generate the return that their investment would require. It is still PPC after all and there is a far wider use of the data going on in Facebook than better-targeted PPC can deliver.

3) Revolutionalise Online Advertising
As above but the resulting advertising solution they create will be as revolutionary to online contextual advertising as adwords/adsense (arrgh!) was to conventional banner ads…there you go, that’s where the money is!

Microsoft learn to target ads based on much more than basic demographics or site visitor numbers and make an absolute killing. They become the only people in the world who can provide an ad delivery system that is targeted according to information on social aspects in our life. In fact, so much so that a) we don’t mind the ads appearing in our social networks and b) we actually find the ads interesting (ok, maybe I went a bit too far on that one!)

If MS have bought into Facebook because of this last point, then I think we are in for a very exciting time. After all, look how much information we can already gleam from Facebook Flyers Pro…this is only the beginning.

Enjoy.

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This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

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10/10/07 UPDATE: I have republished this post because of the recent Jaiku/Google news. Not because enough hasn’t already been said, but because i feel that it is particularly relevant to the discussions.

With so many "Web 2.0" applications cropping up on a daily basis (and keeping bloggers themselves in a job reporting on all the launches!!) it seems that there is little time for these applications to ever make the mainstream.

Blogging is seen as a time-consuming and often self-indulgent practice.

Twitter and Jaiku make blogging quick, easy and mobile – and this is where the web is heading. So the Jaiku purchase carries with it much more importance than another small company being swallowed by another big company.

Vic Keegan of the guardian reports that for all its pomp and fuss, blogging just isn’t breaking into the mainstream as expected (or as much as facebook or myspace and facebook have for example).

I’d written about this a while ago arriving at the conclusion that this was because the growth of the blogoshpere was being powered by the technologists behind and associated with the tech industries themselves.

One such case in question is techmeme. Look at the sister sites section…I’ve seen more content in a blank email. Where is comedy meme, car meme, soccer meme? At least digg has got the right idea – opening up channels to non-tech topics.

The very people pushing the growth of the blogosphere are the people who have designed and contributed to its conception, with several notable "non-tech" leaders carving out a niches for themselves (Steve Rubel springs to mind).

I strongly believe that the reason the blogosphere’s growth is slowing is more to do with the perception that it is run by techies FOR techies.

As a newbie, what do you choose…feedburner, newsgator, google reader? With posts, do you sphere it, delicious it, add to technorati favourites (what’s technorati most will ask?), stumble it, digg it…how about stuff it" I can’t be bothered?

Yes, the barriers to entry are short and sweet, but isn’t it about time, it all stopped getting so damn confusing.

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So Google’s purchase of Jaiku has happened and I am delighted.

It is a bit of the VHS versus Betamax battle – but where the better format wins!

Jaiku is a much more accomplished, micro-blogging tool. It offers post comments/threads, groups, post/comment rss feed, external feed importing, embedable post icons, groups and fantastic mobile functionality (there’s probably a load more too!).

The one thing it has always lacked is a vast user-base, which Twitter has in abundance. Yet Twitter has almost NO functionality other than erm…search and rss.

As a predominantly mobile application, with a larger customer base, one can’t help wonder why Google hasn’t bought Twitter instead (to go with the Gphone no doubt!)

I sincerely hope that Google’s purchase of Jaiku really opens the application up to the users it deserves – it is significantly better than Twitter and the more users it gets, the better.

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Update: The irony of Robert launching a conversation about Jaiku on Twitter was not lost on me, nor was the use of Friendfeed to carry out the conversation ;-). Robert used FF to discuss why Jaiku has not taken off as a Micro-blogging tool, when the always-down and featureless Twitter remains so popular.

The discussion ranges from “horrible green colour” to “closed network” (but surely on this basis, any network that requires a login is closed?” but I see so many compelling reasons FOR Jaiku, namely and not exclusive to:

Fantastic mobile client
Location-awareness
Groups
Feeds (image and text)
Great UI (for threaded conversations)

As I suggested earlier this week, FF’s room feature may in fact spell the end for Jaiku (although many would argue that Google was the end for them!) but the direction of the conversation is absolutely turning towards FF as the bridge between the gap.

Twitter = Frequently down, featureless, massive user base
Jaiku = Occasionally slow, feature-rich, few users
Friendfeed = Always-up, good speed, growing (quickly) community, feature-rich

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In response to a increasing number of enquiries from likely (and unlikely!) clients, we (KMP) have decided to run an exciting series of events to bring everybody together. All of the events can be found in the events section of our new website.

The idea is to gather some of the best minds in the business and demonstrate that social network marketing for all its buzzwords and trendiness can actually provide sound commercial benefit to your business. With insight and stimulating discussion being given by the likes of Bill Daring, Mark Rogers, the CEO of Market Sentinel and Fergus Burns of innovative feedcommerce start-up nooked we aim to have all our social network marketing bases covered giving guests a thorough understanding of how this space can bring real commercial benefits.

The two Social Network Marketing events are being held at Tiger, Tiger in both London and Manchester.

Marketing Me! is the first of the three events, starting on 10th October and "stars" our CEO Bill Daring. Bill will be discussing how creative-types can maximise the use of new media to promote themselves.

The Green Room – Marketing Me! seminar

Tuesday 10th October 2007 – Greenroom, Manchester Centre for Performance (54-56 Whitworth Street West, Manchester, M1 5WW)

Bill Daring will be speaking about what creatives should do to make themselves more successful. This will include ways in which start up creative companies and freelancers might position and promote themselves to get more business.

Social Network Marketing – Tiger, Tiger London AND Manchester

Thursday 8th November 2007 – Manchester (0930 – 1300)
Thursday 29th November 2007 – London (0930 – 1300)

9.30  Welcome Reception with Tea & Coffee
10.00 Social Media Marketing – Bill Daring, KMP
10.45 Managing your brand online – Mark Rogers, Market Sentinel
11.00 Feed Marketing and Widgets – Fergus Burns, Nooked (tbc) 
11.45 Questions and open discussion
12.30 Lunch

The cost to attend this event is £25 and includes lunch.

UPDATE: If all that isn’t going to be enough, I will be going too!

UPDATE: Given that Tiger, Tiger is below the Edelman offices, I would fully expect David Brain to be attending!

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I am over the moon that I have been able to bag a place at The Facebook Debate on the 17th October. Big thanks to Paul Walsh of the BIMA and Segala for that.

The aim of the debate is to:

explore and challenge the various ideas currently being touted in blogs and mainstream media, as well as bring you an insight into the plethora of Facebook stories: brands who have worked within the Facebook walls effectively and those who have not.

Given the space in which I am working at the moment, this could prove to be an incredibly useful chance to meet some very interesting people and inevitably come up with some great ideas. With the following speakers already confirmed there is going to be tons of discussion to report on.

Speaking at the event will be:

  • Hugh MacLeod
  • Damien Mulley
  • Michael Nutley
  • Robert Loch
  • Chad Wollen
  • JP Rangaswami
  • (bios here)

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Facebook is taking over the world and as more and more mainstream businesses get on board (for either promotional or employee reasons) it is only going to grow in size. But, as with life, size doesn’t necessarily matter! Most social networks gauge their success purely on subscriber numbers (although Second Life might like to rethink even THESE figures!), I think Facebook requires an as-yet non-existant metric which is far more powerful. Content-exchange mass.

By opening up the API to developers, so much Facebook-only content has been created and will continue to be created, that it will be almost impossible to leave the network without leaving some of you in there.

All the inter-connecting friend and content data provide the media owner with the Holy Grail of ad-serving data. Who are the key influencers, what age, gender, location are they. Who is most likely to send what to whom, when and where. What makes applications successful amongst certain groups, who talks to whom most frequently, who updates their status frequently, what words are used in the status updates, what brand names are used, when and by whom…you get the point.

One of the many Facebook applications we are developing give some insight into what data can be gleamed but this is only the start.

Facebook is going places and Microsoft know it!

Fresh back from the debate on the 17th, KMP will be hosting our very own North West events. More to follow…

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