Category Archives: Business 2.0

Social Marketing’s bet that we’ll do their work for them

Build it and they (us) will advertise for us (them). Genius. If it works.

For a long time now web marketers have been struggling to get heard above the din of flashing web animations and banners. No longer. If you ever wondered how social networking giants Facebook and MySpace made money (and why they’ve in turn been purchased by megamedia companies Microsoft and Fox), wonder no more. It’s target marketing. And it’s powerful. Or at least some are betting it will be.

If marketers believe in numbers, Facebook is betting they can deliver them. Facebook Ads (powered by Facebook Beacon) is a viral marketing distribution system wherein Facebook members are “empowered” to share (recommend) their product and purchasing habits with their online buddies.

To make this work Facebook, to the displeasure of many, lifted it’s longtime ban on member profiles that weren’t actual people. Corporations wanting a piece of the social marketing action can now create brand-specific profiles, but unlike your average-joe-Facebook-member, they’ll be tracking the behavior of their Facebook friends.

Think about marketing distribution channels for a second. Millions of dollars spent to advertise in print and on tv stand to be replaced by….us. And we’re cheap (free).

It’s not like everyone in the socialsphere is chomping at the bit to market to their online pals, but the fact is it’s a seemingly natural attempt to co-opt a fairly normal offline behavior. The markets as conversations crowd sees this all as incredibly natural.

Since Facebook’s announcement there’s been plenty of criticism. There’s the typical rants against insidious stealth advertising techniques, but privacy concerns are the primary cause for alarm. It may even be illegal. But I doubt it.

Don’t worry, the government is getting involved, so it will all probably work out.

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, Business 2.0, Privacy, Social Media, Virtual Communities, web 2.0, When New Meets Old

How can innovative “pay by..” models stem file swapping? …(or can they?)

“Physical” music sales are down. Forever. And they’re not alone. The question now isn’t if people will download music, but how. Will they steal it? Will they know they’re even breaking the law? Will they pay for it? Lot’s of record companies and big retailers seem confident they will. If they buy it, what can they do with it? Will it be “theirs” or will it be theirs only if they have iTunes?

Is DRM it, or are there obvious solutions right under our noses?

If your favorite band offered you their new album for FREE, would you still pay for it? Conversely, if you just took it for free without asking, would your favorite band be pissed at you? Still, is free web-distribution the little guy’s best chance for recognition (and future sales)?

Seems also like the music industry just doesn’t get the dynamic of evolution inherent in new media. Sure, they’ll win some battles. But they’ll lose the war.

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Filed under A democratic medium?, Business 2.0, P2P (Peer to Peer), When New Meets Old

Newspaper v Internet: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em

While most newspapers are trying to stake bigger claims online, one new publication is pulling material off the Internet to be printed in ink. John Wilpers, editor in chief of BostonNow, a free weekday daily introduced last month, said he wanted to fill the paper with items that local bloggers submitted to the BostonNow Web site. Last week, editors began culling posts and running excerpts next to articles from reporters and newswires. The blog items, which appear in gray boxes, are still relatively few, but Mr. Wilpers said he thought the feature would grow.

Mr. Wilpers, who previously edited two other free commuter newspapers, Metro Boston and The Washington Examiner, said he wanted to address what he believed was the news industry’s biggest problem: an inability to connect with the communities it covers.

“It doesn’t take a whole lot of smarts to look out at the Internet and see thousands writing on their communities, whether they be geographic or thematic,” Mr. Wilpers said. “They’re writing about Jamaica Plain or Dorchester or the Boston music scene or windsurfing on Massachusetts Bay.” BostonNow also hopes to help connect bloggers with fans. With a current circulation of about 85,000, BostonNow potentially offers a much larger readership than most local bloggers are used to. The greater exposure could translate into increased ad revenue for their own sites.


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from the New York Times

It’s no surprise that “print” is looking for new revenue answers online, but gimmicky solutions aren’t the answer. The history of media evolution suggests those mediums that can’t adapt or integrate, die. (Least we assume the Internet is the end-all, be-all of communications media.) Although newspapers face this challenge, it’s not like publishers have to reinvent the wheel to get good content online. The bigger obstacle is getting everyone to understand you can still make money in a subscription-free environment.

Previously from What’s New Media…all things web meets newspaper.

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Filed under Blogosphere, Business 2.0, History of New Media, Media Evolution, When New Meets Old

The Economic plus or minus of Fair Use

Fair use protects competition by guaranteeing that companies can reverse engineer software so that their products will work and ‘interoperate’ with the products of their competitors. Fair use guarantees journalists, scholars and ordinary citizens the right to quote and abstract from others’ writings, and so buttresses basic rights of free expression. And fair use guarantees that technological innovations such as the Internet itself, whose very function is to copy information from one place to another, can operate normally without running afoul of copyright law. Fair use thus helps to ensure that the benefits of copyright accrue to the public. It produces a multiplier effect without which we would all be poorer.

from Fair Use in the US Economy: Economic Contribution of Industries Relying on Fair Use (pdf), a report prepared for the Computer & Communications Industry Association. Commentary from Ars.

Is it that clear cut? Are most illegal downloaders expressing a desire for a fairer use, or are they simply digital criminals? Although the argument can be made the the music, tv and film industries are slow to adapt to competition in the digital era, they are, by at least some perspectives, making less money. Maybe a more relevant question is, will this issue be resolved through legislation, or simple economics consequences of the “darknet?”

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Filed under Business 2.0, Digital Commons, Fair Use

Web Widgets become serious business

The rise of widgets was caused by several factors including the adoption of RSS, the expansion of the blogosphere, growth of social networks, fashion of self-expression and the democratization of the web at large. Originally, the goal of widgets was to simply deliver a miniaturized version of a specific piece of content outside of the primary web site…A major development in the history of widgets occured just this week; the W3C published a draft of the first widget specification. The goal of this effort is to standardize how widgets are scripted, digitally signed, secured, packaged and deployed in a way that is device independent, follows W3C principles, and is as interoperable as possible with existing market-leading user agents on which widgets are run.

from The Evolution of Web Widgets: From Self-Expression to Media Companies at the Read/Write Web

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Business 2.0, Digital Commons, Media Evolution, Productivity, Tools, web 2.0

Emotional Recognition to be used first for….drumroll…marketing!

A computer program that reads human expressions may bring an about-face in marketing….The software, or others like it, may put a new face on market surveys. For professor Deborah Small of The Wharton School, who recently examined the effects of facial expressions in charity ad campaigns, excitement surrounding these technologies is considerable. The real test, she says, is whether they can become sophisticated enough to predict our responses.


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from WIRED

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Filed under Anthropotropism, Business 2.0, Technology, our Mirror

Music acquired via P2P is valuable market research

The music industry has long blamed illegal file sharing for the slump in music sales. But now, a key part of the industry is trying to harness file sharing to boost its own bottom line. Earlier this year, Clear Channel Communications Inc.’s Premiere Radio Networks unit began marketing data on the most popular downloads from illegal file-sharing networks to help radio stations shape their playlists. The theory is that the songs attracting the most downloads online will also win the most listeners on the radio, helping stations sell more advertising. In turn, the service may even help the record labels, because radio airplay is still the biggest factor influencing record sales.

Read this item from the Wall Street Journal

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Filed under Business 2.0, Digital Commons, Fair Use, P2P (Peer to Peer), When New Meets Old