Jun 1, 2010 Comments Off
May 19, 2010 Comments Off
In honor of YouTube’s fifth birthday, the site announced it’s now attracting more than two billion video views a day.
“That’s nearly double the prime-time audience of all three major U.S. television networks combined,” the YouTube team wrote in a blog post Sunday. “We certainly can’t imagine what the future will look like. But we do know there’s a lot more to be done … We’re just getting started.”
To celebrate, the Google-owned site launched its YouTube Five Year Channel and a project called “My YouTube Story,” which features users talking about the ways in which the video site has affected their lives.
Among them are such high-profile users as CBS News’ Katie Couric, Internet pioneer Vint Cerf and late-night jokester Conan O’Brien.
In Couric’s video, she says “YouTube is kind of like New York City. Millions and millions of people from all walks of life co-existing in one small space. When you turn the corner, you never know who or what you’ll see.”
Adds O’Brien, “If you’re like me, America, you spend an inordinate amount of time watching YouTube – and it’s probably why our country’s economy is in the toilet.”
Jiminy Cricket! Anyone still have doubts about a social video sharing web?
Jul 13, 2009 Comments Off
This past week, I took a trip to Costa Rica with a few friends including Rahmin Sarabi, founder of unclasses.com, James Gross, VP at Federated Media, and Matt Jessell, Stategic Programs Manager at Federated Media.
With collectively over 15 years of web experience, most of our conversations were centered around how the web is changing media, consumer behavior, and our daily interaction – typical for a group of web guys on a vacation. Sorry, no bikini girls taking body shot stories here.
But in the context of a third-world country, heavily influenced by the US recession, the web seemed more relevant than ever.
It has become an equalizer; a channel of communication to connect and broadcast to anyone and everyone around a topic in real-time.
Before the leaving for the trip, James had connected with the founder of SurfingNosara.com, Erik Antonson. Erik has been experimenting with social media as a distribution and communication channel and wanted to meet with us to “get advice and talk strategy”.
What came next was a surprise. In an hour conversation with Erik, I realized that I had very little to offer. The specific strategies in using Twitter, Facebook Fan Pages, Blogs, Video, and other social media mediums are elementary. The technology is simple and the additional tools such as Twollow, TwitterHawk, Involver, etc can be found in online resource guides.
So how is it that a group of web dudes from San Francisco couldn’t give Erik a more concrete social media strategy?
Because he got it. Living in Costa Rica, thousands of miles from any technology hubs and in the middle of the jungle, he got it. He may not have the best SEO or SEM strategy, or may not be utilizing the best tools to scale his consumer engagement, but understood the foundation the social web was built on.
He knew to:
1) Focus on relevant and real-time content.
Erik posts regularly with interesting and engaging content. No automated content rss fed content from an api of twitter search with geotagged stories from ghost bloggers (I think I got most of the bs terms used). It’s real content from him and his crew.
2) Be authentic.
He’s not going to pretend to be a brand, or hide behind a logo. He is the founder, owner, the company, and a person you can ask questions and talk to.
3) Be passionate about what he is doing.
Erik is a realtor. But he actually cares about what he is doing, and it is easy to recognize that. It is apparent from in his posts, his videos, and the community he has built.
4) Use marketing channels as means to communicate, not sell.
He understood that these mediums are a means to communicate and engage around conversation. He actually cared about your experience, the relationship, and building an online community around Nosara. He makes it nontransactional. (Yes, he’s a realtor and yes, this is possible)
5) Make decisions as if he was 16.
He thinks about his life and his company as if he were a young, optimistic adolescent. He makes it fun, appreciates the process, and in the end, is doing more of what he enjoys. Why does this matter? Because making an extra dollar is not the end goal.
Again, the web has become as equalizer. Understanding the trends, tools, and fundamentals of the social web are no longer restrictive to those in the microcosm of San Francisco geekness. All too often we associate “living in San Francisco” with technological know-how. Sure, the entire globe isn’t using FourSquares or Vark, but Erik started with a solid foundation of focusing on content, his relationships, and his passion; and with these principles in mind, he is going to crush it.
Find Erik at SurfingNosara.com.
May 13, 2009 3
Lots of momentum in the valley around Eric Reis’ Lean Startup. Though I find his advice particularly valuable to startups, I think there are other applications to the general principles. If you haven’t seen it, here is his presentation from the Web 2.0 Conference.
In our industry, the traditional methodology of developing and implementing a new idea or service seems to stifle creativity. At a typical property management group, the risk-profile is perceived to be very high. Further compounding the problem, traditional mediums are viewed as efficient “enough”.
I’m not recommending you spend hours a day tracking and measuring leads, but putting some simple processes in place will help you identify which leads are converting from which sources. Though the general goal is to drive the most leads possible, maybe it should be to drive the most qualified leads possible.
3) Reduce total time through the loop.
The general idea is the getting through the feedback loop as quickly as possible. The faster you are at identifying what renters want or how to interact with renters, the more branding and lead generations opportunities you will have.
I think a lean startup is about testing a variety of hypotheses, using feedback and data to identify consumers’ needs, and being able to quickly change strategy and iterate again. This may be a bit of a stretch for property management groups and I know I am oversimplifying things, but I think some lessons can be learned and applied. What do you think?
May 6, 2009 Comments Off
Last week, Gables Residential announced the integration of their websites with RentWiki.com’s content. Why is this significant?
The multifamily housing industry is not known as the most progressive space, often slow to adopt new technology.
However, even with the last few months, the space has drastically changed. Multifamily companies are gaining a deeper understanding of the social web, experimental budgets are increasing, and adoption of existing social media distribution channels are increasing. Are we close to a tipping point?
Step 1: Movement towards contributed content.
The typical property website displays static information (bed, bath, price, photos). Unfortunately, consumers are accustomed to reading and interacting with contributed content. We rely on Amazon, Wikipedia, and Yelp when making a purchasing decision. Gables Residential has identified the needs of its consumer, understands the benefits of user generated content, and is filling a large need.
Step 2: Transparency.
Driving the largest quantity of leads is part of the game. However, the other component is the quality of the lead. By providing more content, you provide more transparency and increase quality. Similar to posting a video tour, by providing more content, the resident will be further along in the decision making process. Though transparency increases accountability, it also increases the quality of the leads and more importantly creates trust with consumers.
“We’ve put a lot of effort and resource into making Gables.com a world class consumer site,” explained Jason Tripp, marketing director for Gables Residential. “To make it even more consumer-friendly we realized Gables.com needed a social media aspect as well as neighborhood-centric information. By integrating with RentWiki.com we’re able to tap into their consumer-provided neighborhood content as well as their Twitter integration, Facebook integration, Walk-Score widget, YouTube integration and much more.”
Management companies in the Multifamily Industry can spend anywhere between $10,000 to $100,000 or more to build and maintain their websites. And, re-engineering these websites to include social media aspects can be very costly, with no guarantees of getting any real social activity. “RentWiki.com’s content sharing solution allows Gables.com to grab this content and become active participants in the social media sphere,” said Tripp. “It also allows us to be tuned in to what consumers are saying about their surroundings and be highly responsive to them.”
Congrats to Gables Resident in showing its commitment to the consumer.
Mar 15, 2009 Comments Off
For those that don’t know, TenCent is the owner of the leading IM franchise in China – a product known affectionately as “QQ”. TenCent was founded in 1998, has 355 million users, US$1.2B in annual revenues, and a US$11.2B market capitalization. The stock chart for the past 5 years is included in the adjacent graphic. The two primary drivers of revenue for TenCent are digital items and casual game packages and upgrades. Advertising, which doesn’t work well on U.S. products like IM, doesn’t work well in China either. Advertising revenues for TenCent represent only 12% of total revenues. Recently, I asked a leading Internet analyst which company in China is best positioned above all others? He quickly replied “TenCent”.
Facebook already has very large succesful third-party games and could build some killer ones internally. Additionally, virtual gifts are approximately 1/5 of Facebooks revenue. Surprisingly, an estimated $50 to $60 million is made from Facebook virtual gifts.
Though I agree that the digital goods and games model will undoubly be extremely profitable if executed correctly, here is my easy and fast recommended revenue model for Twitter and Facebook.
1) I’ve been saying for years that our all aspects of our offline lives are migrating online. Our conversations, our interactions, and our thoughts are being held and recorded online.
2) We are already recommending books, restaurants, electronics, websites, and all sorts of consumer goods online.
However, these mentioned on Facebook and Twitter are not hyperlinked. What if Twitter and Facebook hyperlinked mentioned of goods or services relevant to the conversation? For instance, if a friend recommends a book on Twitter, it would link to Amazon so I could purchase it or read a summary/reviews of it. Think Zemanta.com or Apture.com for online conversations.
Would I pay for a link to a neighborhood or apartment in a conversation on Twitter or Facebook? I am cheap and I would pay boatloads for that.
So similar to the Google model that brings back relevant advertisements based on key terms, advertisers could pay for links in the text of conversations as long as it is extremely relevant. If I mention Apple Macbooks in a conversation, the “Apple” text is linked to Apple’s homepage. No doubt there is downside to the user experience if it is not executed correctly, but I think a few relevant links here and there would actually be helpful.
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