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Lonely, Lonely Bloggers Don’t Despair

Lonely, Lonely Bloggers Don’t Despair

I’ll own up to this fact: I subscribe to the New Yorker for the comics.  Looky here:

blogging with no comments

Need I say more?

Maybe it’s funny b/c I’m a social media junkie… and here’s proof of that:

The funniest thing about this is that blog comments are almost extinct. That’s mostly good — but there is a downside. Either way, this comic is out of touch or this was drawn 3 years ago!

Mostly Good

The conversations that are happening in response to an article or sentiment are happening in the social channels — and that can be either through sharing or through social plugins. This is way better for content — content wants to get bounced around and go viral.

The Bad

What’s great about the time when all comments happened at the foot of a blog is that search engines had an easy time delivering to you great search results from the comments of blogs — they used to be a treasure trove of nuanced thinking branching off from the h1 tag– but now, comments are scattered, splintered and strewn about the (social) universe wily nilly.

I think Googlebot is probably panting like an old dog by the time it gets back to its house.

Last comment: it’s quite possible that a “follow” is the most salient and compact participatory event in the content space. Is it a comment? Dunno. Is it an affirmation? Sure thing! And, of course, dare I say: it’s desperate to be monetized.

Ok, it’s late and there are more questions pouring into my head than answers. Here’s a biggie: it seems like blogs are going to be extinct — lead by a fleeing of the comments (and feedback). But how can blogging really go extinct — we desperately need longer-form writing!

 

Why Pinterest Should Pivot And Help The Real Contributors Of The Web Get Paid

Reviewers of the world it’s time to start getting paid.

There’s something wrong with the state of the internet. In particular, reviews.

We write them. We look through them. We rely on them!—even when they’re written by total strangers. They provide enormous value to internet users worldwide. They’ve transformed ecommerce. Yet we don’t own what we write.

Amazon does!

Can’t we snap our fingers and ask the silicon valley rainmakers to take the democratic ethos of the internet one step further and give individuals automatic intellectual property rights for the content we create?

Pinterest is almost there.

It allows users to curate what matters to them—but it doesn’t let us get paid if our curation brings value to a company or organization. I do recall them surreptitiously trying to swap out user-pasted urls with affiliate-laden ones. Hmm. Good idea–bad execution.

Gumroad is making waves by making any link an ecommerce storefront. Not sure if this can be executed as a default in one’s ‘lifestream’.

Yotpo is doing something interesting–using algorithms (what else!?) to find the best reviews for any product. And, Yotpo, will the writer of that ‘best review’ get something in return?

And then there is VRM–or Vendor Relationship Management. There’s lots of interesting things over there–for example, a few of their goals:

  • Make individuals the collection centers for their own data
  • Give individuals the ability to share data selectively
  • Give individuals the ability to control how their data is used by others

It’s good to know we’re heading in the right direction. Heck, there may be a startup being featured right this very instance who has solved the problem.

Regardless–let’s decide to turn the corner together and demand ownership of our thoughts and social content.

 

How Google Shows Content Marketing Is Easy–and Effective

So if you’re a marketing or web type, you most likely saw Google’s unprecedented video of its search meeting:

Video! The search quality meeting, uncut (annotated)

This really is awesome for a number of reasons:

The first–and most obvious–thing is that  Google is being more transparent around its highly secretive search “recipe”. It’s showing anybody who is interested what kind of meticulousness and rigor go into decisions to improve search.

The second thing, and the thing that matters more to me as a marketer, is that Google is showing what good SEO–and what good marketing–is all about: producing great content. This video, is  not professionally produced, nor is it staged or scripted. It’s just an honest peek inside their meeting.

So this is my observation: lots of firms have a treasure trove of good “content” happening every day in their company: it could be an epiphany regarding product development, or an anecdote from a client service rep about outstanding service, or a story about how useful a customer found a product… The take away is that marketing doesn’t always have to be the production of brand new “marketing” content, it can simply be opening the doors to show the real people behind the work, products and company.

Kudos to Google for walking the talk.

 

Someone Let Me Text A Personal Coupon To My Dad!

Here’s a radical mobile/coupon idea: let me text a coupon that I create to anyone.

Maybe call it MePon.

For example, I know my Dad never splurges for good coffee. I would occasionally get a kick out of texting him my own Starbuck’s coupon–basically a $2 voucher that he can redeem at Starbucks for some bold Cafe Americano (my favorite).

It would have to be a totally open platform–perhaps just a connection between me (my phone) and my bank account–and to a lesser degree, brands and establishments.

For example, perhaps I could text him this: “Dad, it’s raining today–a good day for some steamy espresso. No cookies though! STBCKS-173846”

That code would allocate $2 from my bank account to a specific vendor–in this case Starbucks. Upon redemption, the money would be withdrawn from my account and passed to Starbucks. Every user needs a unique code–and every establishment. Not too hard, right?

Here’s some icing for this cake: Every brand should look out for those VIPs who are couponing–or meponing–a lot and reward them with status (mayorship?) or redeemable points (my own free drinks?).

Ok, I’m on a roll: If you integrate check-in apps or perhaps NFC, you could theoretically buy a specific person a drink at a bar… without knowing their name or username–ripe for generation Y; or you could spot tip good service…

Does this exist already? It should!

 

Groupon’s Mojo: Simplicity

I don’t generally use coupons, but I think Groupon is brilliant in its simplicity.  When you arrive at the site, there’s really only one question.

Here’s a great quote from Andrew Mason, founder of Groupon (from ChicagoMag.com):

The premise is “dead-simple value that you can comprehend by looking at one page in three seconds,” says Mason.

In the age of TMI (too much information), this concept will make or break a business.

 

Twitter, Facebook? This Stuff Is Infrastructure!

I finally figured it out: my passion for this social media stuff is grounded in the reality that what we’ve got at our fingertips is new infrastructure.

Roads, schools, tv, radio, your social ‘wall’ and your Twitter ‘stream’.

When radio came out, did a company own the technology?

This is heady stuff.

Web 4.0? Content Not Technology

Folks, did I miss Web 3.0? If I did I’m sure it was technology focused. Well, I’ve had enough of technology advancements–when are we going to get better content!? Specifically, when are we going to get really good local content? For years, I’ve been assailing my friends–and pretty much anyone who would listen–on the issues in the local space (that there’s no good local content) and my wild ideas about how to solve it (given lots of capital). So what are the local issues?

  1. Local vendors are not all represented! And sometimes even if they’re on the web it might be impossible to find them.
  2. The quality of their sites is wildly variable–‘Is this a great business with a terrible site or a terrible business that has a terrible site?’
  3. The innumerable Silicon Valley solutions for local search are really annoyting. See Yahoo’s local listing for an example.

Let me back up for a sec.

While I’ve been in corporate marketing and product development for a bunch of years, my side passion is local. I just love the dynamics at play in the local space: hundreds of scrappy entrepreneurs with their sleeves rolled up trying to make a buck in a finite market, finicky consumers trying to get the best services and/or products, the lack of marketing sophistication… it’s really chaotic but lots of fun–and great stories. All this local appreciation probably stemmed from my short life as a reporter/photographer at a community weekly way back in the 90s. It was great fun to be out and about on a daily basis looking for great little stories.  But I digress… Let me get back to my main thread.

So what are the solutions to these local problems?

  1. Provide each small businss with a free web designer, copywriter and marketer.
  2. Since that won’t happen how about intermediaries that can aggregate, organize, improve and present the local scence in a very focused way–that is until owners get more time and money to do it themselves.

Well, if you agree that this makes sense then check out WestChesterMenu.com. I built this about 4 years ago to see what if.  What if I organized one type of hyper-local content and made it easy to find and easy to navigate? Would it work? Would it attract users? Would content providers participate?

The answer is yes.

WestChesterMenu.com took off like crazy–to the point that I was receiving unsolicited kudos from all types of foodies. Restaurant owners were willing to pay a ‘subscription’ fee to post their menus. Local business–those that sat in between restaurants–found the site compelling to advertise on.  That’s when it dawned on me: my personal vision for Web 4.0 was a good idea AND it had a great rev. model:

  1. Aggregate local content and charge a subscription fee.
  2. Charge advertisers to be seen alongside the content
  3. Charge for premium access.

That’s diversified! It’s a model built to last.

So that was a quick and dirty intro into a pretty interesting topic. I’ll be writing more. Let me know what you think?