Posts Tagged ‘Google’

How Important Is It To “Name” Company Bloggers?

May 15, 2008

I was at an informal meeting today which I quite enjoyed. We had bloggers, client-side people, agency-side people, all of whom were interested in social media. I thought the discussion was generally good, but one question in particular stood out.

Someone mentioned that if hotels wanted to blog, why not get the concierge desk to blog as the stories of what goes on on the ground as well as useful information about the city would be useful and relevant to travelers visiting the hotel or deciding where to stay. It was raised that there could be a number of authors running the blog or just one person, but they should be anonymous. Perhaps blogging as “Your friendly concierge at the Hyatt”, for example.

Bill and Coleman called him out on this and said companies who blog should have full transparency and name their bloggers. But the very reasonable reason of “one day they’ll leave” surfaced, and I’m having a hard time reconciling the two.

On one hand I am a transparency advocate. There are times when anonymity helps (ie when needing to talk about a sensitive issue), but generally for an external blog, I think the public should know who is the person blogging.

But I think the person leaving is a real concern. Take Matt Cutts for example, arguably Google’s “face” on the internet. If for some reason he jumps ship to Yahoo! tomorrow, would that be a problem? Thousands of readers may just migrate over. And who would take over that role at Microsoft and Google? How long would it take the new person to re-build a community?

Of course, I know, Matt Cutts is hardly the best analogy for concierge staff, but you get the gist.

So what would you do if you had to hire a community manager or social media evangelist? Would you be comfortable with them being your company’s Web2.0 “face” online? Would it worry you if they moved on? Would you be confident of replacing them with little to no loss in interest from the community?

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Blogger Outreach: Happening Slowly But Surely

April 12, 2008

Over the last two weeks I’ve been reading about Sheylara’s Xbox gaming preview and then heard about it on the Tech65 podcast today, and last night I read about the HP Mini-note PC blogger preview from Michael, Vanessa, Bernard and Estee (among many others).

My first thoughts? “Damn I need to buy an Xbox 360 just to play The Force Unleashed”, and “Damn that HP Mini-note PC would be sweet to carry while I travel”.

More serious thoughts: I think it’s great that companies like Microsoft and HP would reach out to our local bloggers in the blogosphere. And on top of that, I think it’s great that they didn’t just throw out a wide net and see who gets caught in it, but they really made an effort to engage in targeted outreach to reach the people who would be excited about their products.

Today I also met up with people from The Digital Movement for an informal discussion with a couple of execs from Google to talk a little about feedback and collaboration.

I think this is definitely signaling change in Singapore. No longer are these big companies thinking: We will just produce the product and people will just buy them. They recognise that there is a conversation taking place whether they like it or not, whether they want to take part in it or not.

And frankly, I feel they ignore this conversation at their peril.

I’m sure there are people who’re going to say “Well, how many of these bloggers who saw the HP Mini-note PC will actually buy it? Or how many people who read a blog entry on it will buy it? What’s my conversion rate?” in other words: How is this going to affect my bottom line?

I think from a very practical point of view, that has to be a consideration. But is it the only consideration? So many management case studies point to hotels who give employees a certain amount of money to make right customer complaints as a way of generating goodwill. Is this truly any different?

If the result of this blogger outreach means that the next time someone is searching for the HP Mini-note PC as part of research about whether or not to buy it, and the top few results on Google are these pages and reviews and feedback from the bloggers who attended the outreach, I think the cost of holding that blogger outreach has paid for itself.

I have a lot of other thoughts on the whole blogger outreach strategy and who it works for and stuff like that, but I’d really like to hear your thoughts on the issue. So… comment away!

Where Did SMU = NTU Ad Go??

March 19, 2008

Wanida picked up the NTU advertisement post and posted it on Sg_ljers, which got quite a conversation.

Keen eyes noticed that if you try to search for it right now, the NTU ad is no longer there. Here’s the screenshot taken at 11:13pm (click for bigger picture).

No NTU Ad?

So I’m calling out NTU to respond either here or at Sg_ljers or anywhere on the internet: What happened to your ad? Did you read about this and remove it? Did it run out of budget? (Nods to Amelia).

Whatever the reason, why was it done in the first place? Clearly the corporate communications department is new media savvy enough to use AdWords, now use that same ability to respond to the conversation! I think the blogosphere should know what’s going on.

Google SMU = Get NTU?

March 19, 2008

Google SMU Singapore (Singapore Management University) now and you’ll get this result (click for bigger picture):

Google “SMU + Singapore”

The top result? A fake paid link by NTU (Nanyang Technological University). I understand Google can be gamed, but do we really need to do this? Is it bordering on unethical behavior? What do you think?

Edit: Note that I’m not making a big deal out of NTU appearing on an SMU search. It happens with Google and it’s okay. The point is that the paid link says “SMU Singapore” but the URL link is “ntu.edu.sg”. Clearly misleading.

Did Marketers Ever Have Control?

March 15, 2008

Thinking about my Snapfish posts and the whole debate going on about whether or not we as marketers or communications people should be comfortable with using social media for business because taking that leap requires giving up a large portion of control to your consumers or the general public.

Name-dropping in history

Sticking just to music, bands that existed before or just when the internet came into existence did name-drop brands. From LFO (Abercrombie & Fitch), Barenaked Ladies (Snickers), Run DMC (Adidas) and recently, Melee (JetBlue). (Here’s a good list of brand names appearing in songs)

Though product placement is gaining popularity now, it certainly wasn’t in the early ’90s, though Abercrombie & Fitch enjoyed some market growth and Run DMC was eventually approached to be Adidas’s spokesperson.

Prior to the internet, unless you were one of those bands or maybe Oprah, what you thought about a brand would not grow larger than conversation at the bar.

What’s Changed: The Ants Have Megaphones

Borrowing the phrase from Chris Anderson’s book, The Long Tail (brilliant book), the ants have megaphones. The democratisation of media means that anyone can be a critic, a brand advocate, or a “journalist”. Because of that, your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what Google says it is. Given the long tail of bloggers, reviews, youtube videos and the like, a search for your brand could turn up negative reference (Dell Hell anyone?)

I don’t think marketers ever had control. But now they have to sit up and deal with the fact that many “ants” collectively can affect a brand (for better or worse), and we’re not as easy to deal with compared to offering a spokesperson contract to Run DMC. We want honest and open company dealings and we will take companies to task for failing to do so.

In short: our conversations are not restricted to bar talk anymore, and it would be folly for a company to ignore it.

Positive or negative brand experiences with social media? Let’s hear it! (Don’t worry, I don’t think you’re ants!)

Adventures In Social Media #2

February 26, 2008

Last week I posted adventures in social media #1 with Derrick Kwa, and this week I’m moving on to #2 Shi Heng Cheong with aka TIMM Guru (that’s The Internet Marketing Machine Guru), specialising in SEO (search engine optimisation) in Singapore.

Shi found my post on Singapore trying to join the Google race and left his comment here, as well as a post of his own.

Shi will be contributing a number of guest posts to this blog revolving around the top 10 questions about SEO that you should want to know.

If you have no idea what SEO is or are tempted to brush it off as unimportant, don’t. Remember how the saying used to be “no one ever got fired for putting a 30 second spot in the marketing plan”? Well, the new saying is “no one ever got fired for putting search in the marketing plan”, and that’s what SEO is all about.

First guest post on SEO should be up by the end of this week or early next week, subscribe via RSS to make sure you don’t miss out on it!

Alerts On Readburner, Social Alternative To Google Reader

January 29, 2008

I woke to four comments today from Mike Reynolds from SquirrelNet and was curious how he stumbled upon the site. He forwarded me an email from a Google Alert on Readburner, which was a feature I hadn’t used before, but I’m definitely going to now. Yet another reason why Readburner is just awesome.

I’ve been up for about an hour, and I’ve already added three new additions to my Google Reader feeds, namely SquirrelNet, MediaShift (thanks to a Feedhead post by Prof. Netzley who shared a great post on How Google & Wiki have changed our lives) and Louisgray.com, referred to by Mike. No wonder it’s taking me longer and longer to check my feeds every day!

Anyway, on Louisgray, there’s an interesting article about AssetBar, which looks like a competitor to Google Reader, with a social element built in. Basically while you can share feeds in Google Reader, you don’t know what someone else might be thinking about it, other than the person liked it enough to share it. AssetBar changes that by allowing users to rate articles and comment on them as well. I haven’t had the time to try it yet, but hopefully I will soon and see if the whole commenting thing turns up anything interesting.

Alternatives To Digg & Del.icio.us (No, Technorati Isn’t One Of Them)

January 26, 2008

Google Operating System posted this earlier this week about yet another aggregator called Readburner, which simply tallies up what’s most shared on Google Reader, and publishes them on it’s website. I’ve already subscribed to the feed, and so far, I like what I’m getting.

If Digg and Del.icio.us are a little to complicated and/or daunting for you (as I must admit, Del.icio.us still is for me), then this will probably be perfect.

And no, you can probably skip Technorati entirely, because not only it is really chaotic to navigate, but according to Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion, 99% of pings on Technorati are spam. Observing the amount of spam pingbacks I’ve been getting on this very tiny blog alone, I’m inclined to agree. This, coupled with the fact that Technorati’s layout needs some serious work, definitely would suggest that you give it a miss, at least for now. There are other, easier ways to get into the whole social media scene, for observer and participant alike.

Follow Up On Singapore’s Google Race

January 26, 2008

I’ve been blogging multiple times a day for the last few days and sometimes I wonder if it’s an overkill, but yet there’s so much in the blogosphere that I really feel I need to share.

One great conversation that has been picked up, is that of Singapore attempting to create the next Google which I posted about here. While I certainly don’t claim to have started this conversation, it’s been talked about in other sites like Geek SG and TIMMGuru posted a very Singaporean comment (and I mean that in a good way), about how this isn’t so much about the ends of creating a Google clone, but the process in which Singapore gets the publicity (mockingly so or not), which then serves the purpose of attracting talent.

What are your views on the issue? Comment here, over at GeekSG or TIMMGuru, it doesn’t really matter, but the web should hear the voices of others – particularly Singaporeans – on what they think on the issue.

Google Notebook = End Of Research Headaches

January 24, 2008

I really don’t know how new Google Notebook is, because officially the press release states May 2006, but I’ve not heard of it till now (nor have I heard of anyone discussing it).

What’s so great about it, comes about especially when doing research. When I travel or do research on a product or just general research for a paper, I usually end up creating a bookmark folder and dumping everything inside, and then when I need to consolidate my information I have to open up all the bookmarks again and find the relevant part. Either that or I cut and paste everything to one big Microsoft Word document, but then it’s not universally accessible (ie if I make note of travel places, unless I carry that document around, it’s useless outside of my desktop).

The solution? Google Notebook. It puts everything on one page, and you can even create sub-sections to find the exact things you want. I posted an image below for my exchange research, you can see that even though the entire sheet is called “Exchange”, I can separate them by schools (or whatever criteria I want), and easily see where different sections begin and end later. Of course, I can Google search the whole document as well. Can’t recommend this enough.

Click for full view

 Google Notebook

I think the best thing about this Google product, is that it’s instantly relevant. How many times have you downloaded something and it takes too long to fiddle around with and it gets uninstalled? Happened to me for Google Desktop. In fact I recently re-downloaded it after a year to see if it got better. Nope. I think they need to get their Desktop product team to learn a thing or two from their Notebook team. Not in terms of design, but in communicating what the product does better. The “Take A Tour” feature for Notebook is definitely far superior to that of Desktop.