Can the Social Web save chives?  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in ,

How can companies get consumers enthused about their products as a way of boosting product sales? Seth points to the desperate attempts of Tide and the Chives Marketing Board to do just this. Tide has sent out an email to a number of customers to survey their laundry habits. The Chives Marketing Board has begun an advertising campaign to urge consumers to increase their daily chive intake.

Charles Leadbeater's We-Think and Don Tapscott's Wikinomics suggest that the social movement of the web will transform a number of industries such that it will become normal for consumers to be involved in the actual production of what they consume. The Linux operating system is a famous example of this, but there are other examples, such as OhMyNews - the South Korean news site that accepts articles from readers.

How can we apply this idea to Tide and the Chives Marketing Board?

Consumers of Tide could probably discuss online their laundry habits, rather than in a survey, and help distill what it is about the brand they like and don't like. This might then focus the researchers and technical teams at Tide to address the problems they have with their product, as well inspire them to satisfy any latent needs. A market like the washing powder market does innovate, even if slowly. However, how much of this is consumer led and meeting consumers' specific needs?

With respect to Chives, I think it is merely a matter of determining some great foods which use chives as an ingredient. Again - a recipe invention site where people can show off what people have come up with might re-ingite some interest in chives; something like the Simpsoniser for chives.

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Will mashups will be like air?  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in ,

A mashup of San Francisco's BART station maps and timetables.

Are we now finally entering the age of programmatic sites driven by other sites, i.e. the age of the 'mash-up'?

Although more and more websites are now offering APIs that allow you to access the underlying data programmatically, very few of the 'mash-ups' that have arisen from these have had popular appeal. Google Maps is the exception, managing to offer an API that allows for every person and thing in the world to be easily represented on a map. Web sites that offer real estates to restaurants now look behind the times if they don't use this technology.

However, Groundswell is claiming that their prediction that social networks will be like air is about to come true: Facebook has announced that it will be launching Facebook Connect, a way to connect your Facebook identity to other sites. Imagine having your book reviews on Amazon tied to your Facebook account and seeing your friends' Amazon reviews via their Facebook profile. In many ways, if Facebook Connect works as well as it sounds, it could be like the Google Maps of the social networking world.

Both Google Maps and Facebook Connect provide an element to existing sites which would be difficult for these existing sites to do themselves. A restaurant site does not want to manage data on maps or build fancy social profiles of all their users. Perhaps this model of 'outsourcing' elements of interactivity that are non-core to a site is the way to do mashups?

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90% of virtual world projects fail  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in ,

Infoweek reports that 90% of virtual world projects fail, including the many companies that rushed into building a virtual presence on virtual worlds such as Second Life and There.com.

It appears a lot of companies established a presence in virtual worlds simply because it was 'the thing to do'. These presences tended to be virtual locations, such as stores and exhibitions. In reality, what most people are interested in is collaborating with people. It is widely known that most 'collaboration' on Second Life is gambling and sex. How uses of virtual worlds will move beyond this to other things, such as for businesses promoting their products, remains a mystery.

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Google: The emergence of mobile and the web platform  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in ,

CEO Eric Schmidt has made a presentation at the Annual Stockholders Meeting. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Google expects that adverts will become more narrative, engaging and interactive.
  • Eric suggest that the defining technological shift of our generation will be the shift from PC centric to internet centric. Why have things stored locally on different devices when you can access everything from any device? There are over 500,000 businesses are now using Google Apps for your domain.
  • The emergence of mobile. Japan, which is seen as a front runner for technology, has 81% of people accessing the internet from their mobile. Also, the top three selling books over the last year first appeared for reading on mobiles before appearing in print.
  • There are more smart people outside of Google than inside Google. Google is building a 'web platform': Android and other APIs allow the smart people outside Google to build on top of Google's technology.
Elsewhere, Vint Cerf, Google's Chief Internet Evangelist, mentions briefly that the internet will increasingly become asia centric because that is where most potential users are; most people in the US and Europe are already using the internet. Everyone needs to pay attention to this Asia growth area, in terms of its culture and differences to the west.

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