Archive for the 'Internet' Category

An iPhone without Contracts

September 25, 2009

By joseph.young.2009

apple-iphone-3gs-1

The best smartphone on the market today is the iPhone 3GS. This isn’t news. They’ve sold over 30 million iDevices (iPhone + iPod Touch). The app store has had over 1.8 billion downloads and hosts 75,000 apps. Compare these stats against the Palm Pre, Google G1 or myTouch, Blackberry Storm, or Nokia N-Series. Apple is killing it. That’s not to say that the other players aren’t working hard and may some day catch up. Just not today. But that’s another discussion.

What were here to talk about is how to get the best smartphone on the best network, today. We’ve already determined the best smartphone is the iPhone. But even if you don’t think it is, this method works for your smartphone of choice. The best carrier for coverage and download speed in San Diego is Sprint. Yes, Sprint. I thought it was Verizon too, but recent studies show that Sprint has spent a lot of money on the network and it’s starting to pay off.

sprint

How do you get iPhone on Sprint? Beyond the technical issues of CDMA vs. GSM radio frequencies, the iPhone is tied to AT&T by an exclusivity contract. We’d have to wait a year to hear if there’s the possibility of Apple’s iPhone on Sprint. And the truth is, Verizon would probably snatch up Apple before Sprint, as recent rumors have pointed to. So the solution is to get one of Sprint’s snazzy new personal Wi-Fi devices. Marketed as “MiFi 2200,” it’s a personal hotspot that goes wherever you go and gives you 831K (about 1/2 DSL or 1/3 cable internet speeds) of bandwidth in San Diego. Now get your iPhone, or better yet, iPod Touch, and connect to your MiFi and have high speed internet with you at all times. With any iDevice, you can use the Skype app and have people call you directly. Eventually, the Google Voice app will be released and you’ll be able to use your Google Voice number to call, text, and everything else you need a phone to do. But instead of paying $199 down and $75 a month for 450 minutes and 200 text messages, you pay $199 down and $60 a month for (nearly) unlimited calls, texts, emails, and webpages. Plus you’re on a faster and more reliable network. I could go on about how the MiFi would allow you to surf at the airport, in long car rides, and at any coffee shop, but Steven Levy already talks about it in this month’s issue of Wired (Oct. 2009).

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Facebook is Your New Desktop

August 8, 2009

by joseph.young.2009

With the massive growth in social gaming over the past 12 months, I felt it was necessary to get some first hand experience on what makes these games so successful. Though I’m still studying the space, one takeaway from the experience was Facebook’s design to become your new desktop.

What do I mean by this? Just look at these two pictures.

FacebookDesktop

The first image shows Facebook in my browser at fullscreen (F11 on Firefox and IE). This should not look surprising to anyone who has used Facebook recently to play a flashed based game. What is interesting is when you compare this image to the image of a clean install of Windows XP.

xpDesktop

The “Start” menu in Windows is replaced by the “Applications” in Facebook. Bookmarked application buttons give you access to the Facebook apps you access often. This is a direct copy of the quick launch icons in the windows taskbar (not shown in this screenshot). On the bottom right of the Facebook window is the chat client that mimics a chat program (say MSN) in your system tray.

Facebook has taken a user interface (UI) that the majority of computer users are familiar (Windows XP), and reproduced it online. This may be due to the Microsofts investment in Facebook, or just a reflection of their chummy relationship. My opinion on Facebook’s strategy is a bit more nefarious. The end goal is to kill the heavyweight OS, and instead have users connect directly to the web when they boot up their computers and spend all their computer time in Facebook.

Extending the h-index to Twitter

May 28, 2009

by startupmarketingdiva

Recently, I became a Tweeter.   Cool stuff.  And being the quintessential scientist that I am – a practitioner of the scientific method and strong inference, I like to collect and analyze data.  So, I began thinking about Twitter metrics and analytics.

Here are the basic key Twitter metrics to consider:  Number of followers, number following, number of updates, number of @replies, and number of @RT (i.e. “ReTweets”).  I found this last one to be the most intriguing especially after reading The Genius Index: One Scientist’s Crusade to Rewrite Reputation Rules in this month’s issue of Wired Magazine.  In a nutshell, this article is about Jorge Hirsch, a physicist who lives in a world defined by the “publish or perish” mantra, who decides to re-write the algorithm that defines a scientist’s reputation.  It’s not just about the journal impact factor (i.e. the caliber of journal that a scientist’s research is published in), but rather how many times a scientist’s work is cited by other researchers.  This is referred to the h-index (aka “the hirsch index” of course).

Similarly, it’s almost meaningless to note how many followers you have on Twitter.  Because, sooner or later, you’re going to get bots and spammers following you as well.  Plus, some Tweeters follow simply so that you can turn around and follow them – a kind of a diplomatic gesture, I suppose, in the Twitter world.  But, when a Tweet is ReTweeted, that’s when the signal to noise ratio increases for that particular Tweet and Tweeter.

There are groups working on a number of other metrics for Twitter – check out TwInfluence, which is a site where you can measure your influence as a Twitterer.  I don’t know the actual algorithm, but it calculates your degree of influence based on the velocity at which you acquire followers, taking into account their degree of influence, and the number of followers you accumulate over time, among many other metrics.  And, just today, I came across a search engine built especially for the social web called TOPSY (in the interest of full disclosure, one of the founders is my cousin).  It seems that TOPSY’s value is that it returns information in real time and more importantly, it filters the signal from the noise by using  reputation as a key metric.  So, for example, on Twitter, it filters the Tweets (and the links in the Tweets) that are most valuable based on the reputation of the author.  So your search returns information in the context of what people are actually talking about.

There’s a lot going on.  The dust storm is just starting and it’ll be a while before it settles.  But, like the early days of the internet, when the ‘hit counter’ ruled, similarly, in these early days of Twitter, ReTweets are a key metric to consider, or so it seems.

I’d like to hear your comments.  Yours truly – startupmarketingdiva.  Follow me on Twitter @startupmktgdiva.

Use of new media in regulated industries

May 28, 2009

by startupmarketingdiva

Since my last post on “the future of Social Media Marketing in Pharma,” I’ve seen quite a few conversations pop up around this topic and started ‘listening’ to them.  Here’s the scoop:

There’s a great blog on pharma and healthcare at Dose of Digital.  Check out some of the archived posts on the sidebar of this blog.  It’s evident that the FDA has not clearly defined the rules of engagement in the social media space for pharma and for that matter medical devices and diagnostics companies.  The same blog discusses ways to go around current FDA regulations using mobile marketing (But, I don’t think the point is to deceive customers or patients, or maybe it is? But that’s not my focus!)

Recently, Johnson & Johnson was slapped on the wrist by the FDA’s DDMAC (Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising, and Communications) for overstating the efficacy of Ultram ER, a drug for chronic pain, and understating its risks in this Ultram warning letter.  In another similar situation, Shire Development Inc was reprimanded for inaccurately featuring Adderall XR Capsules on YouTube.  Essentially, the Adderall warning letter claims that the video overstated efficacy and understated the risks, thereby “misbranding” the drug.  So were both of these cases deserving of the reprimand?

Before answering that, consider the blog eye on fda and a related podcast that very succinctly discusses the need for pharma’s participation in Web 2.o, pharma’s reservation to do so, and the FDA’s point of view.  In brief,  Mark Senak of Fleishman-Hillard spoke with Dr. Jean-Ah Kang, who is the Special Assistant to DDMAC Director Tom Abrams.  Although I recommend that you listen to the podcast, the script is nicely transcribed at MM&M.  Basically, right now the FDA has no formal policy on the use of Web 2.0 social media.  The key message from Dr. Kang was:  “it’s not the medium, it’s the message.”  As long as the message is fair and balanced, it doesn’t matter what medium it is conveyed in, whether it be Twitter, YouTube, website, or other traditional medium such as print.  But even so, as a company with a drug or other product in a regulated industry, you still need to cover your a%#.  How?  Dr. Kang says:  “follow the law” by submitting two copies of the final promotional materials using the FDA form 2253 under the guidance of 21 CFR 314.81(b)(3)(i) to DDMAC.  If you think your marketing materials require advisory comments on the draft proposal, you can certainly solicit the DDMAC for assistance in advance via their CDER page.   What this does is covers you from a third party wrongly reprocessing and misrepresenting your product and brand.

Is it better to have loose guidelines than to have an exhaustive list of rules and regulations spelled out by the DDMAC?  Apparently not.  The brouhaha continues.  Just a few days ago, DDMAC issued draft guidance for industry presenting risk information in prescription drug and medical device promotion.  The guidance hardly touches on the use of social media and the Web 2.0 environment.  There seems to be an even stronger response to the lack of guidance provided in this document, especially since DDMAC reprimanded 14 companies via “Warning Letters and Untitled Letters” for using sponsored links on Google in March of this year.  The letters basically claim:  The sponsored links are misleading because they make representations and/or suggestions about the efficacy of _fill in the blank drug_, but fail to communicate any risk information associated with the use of this product. In addition, the sponsored links inadequately communicate _fill in the blank drug _indication and fail to use the required established name. So, if you want to provide input to the draft guidance document, you have 90 days to do so, or you can join the bandwagon with others already planning to!

The landscape is much more complicated than what meets the eye.  How do you formulate policy around promotional materials in a regulated industry in a medium that can be altered, such as a wiki, or that must be communicated in 140 characters or less, i.e. Twitter?  For example, is it okay to Tweet:  “Joe used Viagra and he’s never looked better.  Ask your doctor how you can too!”  And, even if you can, I wonder what the effectiveness of such new media tools will be for the companies looking to promote their regulated products?  And, even more interestingly, how will and should the combination of various marketing channels change to optimize delivery of the promotional message?

I would love to hear your thoughts.  Yours truly – startupmarketingdiva.
P.S. follow me on Twitter @startupmktgdiva

Making “Top Videos” Better

April 6, 2009

by joseph.young.2009

top-videos

I was recently watching the “Top Videos” feature/widget on ESPN recently and thought 2 things. First, the widget has achieved the same functionality as watching SportsCenter on TV.

I can happily watch through it and get the same feeling as watching SportCenter on TV. A couple of stories, a commercial. They don’t make the commercials too long. Let’s hope they keep it that way.

The second thought was a feature they could use to spread the word of the product and increase usage. The “Top Videos” widget should allow people to share clips, tag clips, and make their own “Highlights” to pass to buddies. These features would introduce people to the widget, increase the return rate of readers to the ESPN website, and increases the number of high quality commercials views. As banner ads lose value, video ads that people will actually watch become the most valuable real estate on a webpage. Hulu currently charges a CPM rate of $25, which is apparantly a bargain for video commercials. A rough estimate of CPM for banner ads is $5. This means, that websites, including ESPN want to convert as much space to video ads as possible. SportsCenter has found a way to do this. But it must increase the viewership. By allowing customers to share clips and add tags, you add more value to the “Top Videos” widget and get more people using it, whether to tag, or to share clips.

One way to implement the tag features is as follows. Show the top 10 tags, and allow users to give a thumbs up or thumbs down for a clip selection. To avoid excess tags, the same section (or close proximity) should be selected 3 times before it shows up on the website to prevent clutter. And people can get “points” as they get more thumbs up rankings. This will encourage more participation for “tagger” and “rankers.”

ESPN currently has 15M viewers. If “Top Videos” is getting 10% of the viewers, that’s 1.5M viewers. If they could get that increased to 20% they could be doubling their revenue from that one widget alone.

Using Blogs for PR

February 20, 2009

by joseph.young.2009

yelp-blog

Businesses usually use their blogs for product announcements and company culture posts. But the power of the blog is far stronger than those uses.

Many companies can’t afford to get airtime on tv, or even print in a local newspaper. When there are things they want to say that relate to the image of their company, a blog provides a professional yet casual space to talk candidly. A current case of this in practice is the Yelp blog post in response to a aggressive article published by the the East Bay Express. What’s great about the post is the professional but personable response by the CEO, that included the link to  the slandering article. He was comfortable talking to his users, and wanted to express the opinion of Yelp in response to the article.

When writing for your company blog, don’t forget that it’s more versatile than you think. Talking about company culture and product news is great, but use it as the entire voice of your company, not just those two points.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) Done Right: Jack in the Box

February 5, 2009

by joseph.young.2009

Watching the Jack in the Box Superbowl ad seemed regular enough. A cliffhanger ad with a website URL as the call to action. Nothing special.

But going to the website, you recognize that they’ve done something great with it. They’ve taken advantage of social media tools to make the site feel more authentic and create an experience for users. The SMM tools used on the site: Blog, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, comment boxes, video comment submissions. Quite an impressive array of SMM tools. But more interesting than the number of SMM tools used, is the fact that they’re used properly. The YouTube videos shot with a handcam effect. The tweets are timed before and after the accident to show a change in character and and explanation as to what’s happening. This campaign keeps the Jack in the Box users engaged. It also keeps Jack in the Box at the top of their minds when they’re thinking of a fast food restaurant to eat at. That’s how it really succeeds.

The goal of SMM is the same as any other marketing: get the customer to buy. It’s just a new tool in your toolbox. Only use it in certain situations.

Stumbled Upon Sites

December 16, 2008

by joseph.young.2009

I ran into a bunch of new and exciting website links. I thought I’d share them with everyone who doesn’t already have their day filled with next generation business news. Here goes…

startup.partnerup.com

Source: startup.partnerup.com

http://startup.partnerup.com/

All about startups, entrepreneurs, and small business. All the time.

truemors.com

Source: truemors.com

http://truemors.nowpublic.com/

A rumor spreading website.

http://www.tilzy.tv/rex-sorgatzs-im-just-sayin-aims-to-be-diggnation-for-girls.htm

Online webisodes blog. I never knew there was so much dang web content. And of good quality!

vimeo.com

Source: vimeo.com

http://vimeo.com/imjustsayin

Conversations amongst friends. Unscripted. On tape.

I don’t have nearly the amount of time to read all this content. Anyone want to follow it and share their google reader shared items with me? Otherwise, I’m going to miss stuff on it.

Great Social Marketing Primer

November 3, 2008

by joseph.young.2009

If you’re new to social marketing or are a veteran, this is one of the best presentations I’ve heard about the new channel for marketing. Very honest and accurate video. Professor Karsten covered this material for an entire session during Research for Marketing Decisions course, but this is a great complement.

Video Games as Advertising Channels is Here

October 16, 2008

With the election less than 3 weeks away, the media blitz to create political awareness and convincing is in full swing. Traditionally this is through print, radio, television. You know, the traditional mediums. In 2004, advertising on the web was the hot thing. Howard Dean’s grassroots campaign saw plenty of banner ads. But that was 2004. What’s happening in 2008?

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Atari will Succeed

September 19, 2008
lastshepard.wordpress.com

Source: lastshepard.wordpress.com

Reading about the Phil Harrison interview yesterday, anyone in the game industry would see Atari‘s forward thinking strategy. The focus of the company moving forward will be based on digital distribution and new media (Facebook, iPhone, etc). Contrast this with the strategy of Gamestop and parts of EA, and you can tell why this is forward thinking.

Read the rest of this entry »

Now Rocking My Phone

August 12, 2008

by atremble

Last month Pandora launched an iPhone application that has revolutionized a corner of my world. The service is already the 4th most popular application on the phone (first in music) and it drove a record 3.3 million songs streamed in one weekend to iPhone listeners alone. Yet it has no ads. Given that Pandora’s revenue model depends on clever advertising with high CPMs, how can Pandora afford the royalties and bandwidth? One explanation is to view the launch as a massive—and massively successful—marketing expense until the user base can be monetized.

It’s not yet clear how Pandora and Apple plan to do this. Read the rest of this entry »

Revenue Models for Online Entities – Strategy vs. Exit

July 9, 2008

by radymarketingon

A critical issue for Internet startups is how to turn the cool idea into revenue. Acknowledging that in the past this was less of a concerns, here is an entrepreneur who discusses this issue in an interesting way as they pertain to his venture ( blog post ).

The bottom line, whether you plan an early exit or not, the revenue model should be an integral part of the strategy!

Harnessing the Wisdom of Customers: Free Social Networking Tool Brings Companies Closer to Their Consumers

May 15, 2008

Connecting with Customers Quickly and Cheaply:
MBA students learn a few core marketing concepts over and over: First, we learn that customers are key to the development of any sound marketing strategy. Second, we learn the value of listening to customers and the wisdom of crowds. We also learn that the mere act of responding to a customer often increases loyalty. Unfortunately, maintating an ongoing customer dialogue can be both costly and time intensive. Social networking utilities are increasingly being used as a quicker and cheaper alternative to close the feedback loop. Read the rest of this entry »