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Showing posts from February, 2011

You have zero friends, Google - but one secret social weapon

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This post was also published in VentureBeat.One of the charms of Google’s once and future CEO, cofounder Larry Page, is that he’s never seemed particularly worried about being liked.

But Google is very worried about knowing what you and your friends like — a domain of data that Facebook has so far dominated. And under its brash new leader, it could be gearing up for a real fight with Facebook over this priceless information about consumers’ preferences.

And Google has a secret weapon in the like battle that no one seems to be talking about.

It has been almost a year since Facebook introduced its Open Graph API in April 2010, offering websites social plugins to enable logins, let people easily “like” content on the Web, show which of your friends were on the site, what your friends recommend, and even what activities your friends have performed on the site. The login and like plugins have been enormously successful for large, popular sites like The Huffington Post, CNN and CitySearch.

Howe…

Interactive TV has finally happened - just not on TVs

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This post was also published in VentureBeat.Ever since Yahoo Connected TV launched at CES in 2009, there has been a steady stream of TV app platform launches, including Google TV, Samsung, Broadcom/Adobe, Boxee, Blu-ray players, MythTV, and even Microsoft Xbox. However, there haven’t been any breakout apps for Internet-connected TVs — so-called “smart TVs.”

And the dirty secret? The TV apps out there are rarely used. I know this first-hand: At Transpond, the social apps-developer I founded and sold to Webtrends last summer, we made a couple of connected-television apps for one of the major broadcast networks, and the apps had almost no traction.

So what happened? It’s pretty simple. TV apps are cumbersome and awkward to use. Using a remote control to navigate across a bunch of app features is slow and confusing. In the process, you annoy everyone else watching the TV. This is the reason that Apple is not supporting apps on the Apple TV, even though it is essentially an iPod Touch with a…

Why most Facebook marketing doesn't work

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This post was also published in ReadWriteWeb.For almost four years, since the Facebook Platform was launched, I have been involved in delivering Facebook apps for top brands such as CBS, NBC, Lifetime, Universal Music, Visa and more. Here's what we have learned doesn't work, and more importantly, what does work.



Deep Campaigns Don't Work

First, deep campaigns don't work. Digital agencies love deep, expensive campaigns on Facebook, with tons of pages, interaction, and art. It fits in with how agencies build microsites and websites, and justifies the $100,000-plus price tag that they like to charge. Examples include lightweight games, prediction contests, treasure hunts where you include friends, and such. Unfortunately for agencies and the brands that drop a lot of cash, Facebook users decidedly don't like deep campaigns.

They do not like to spend 20 or 30 minutes on a single brand's page, unless they are consuming innovative, funny, or exclusive content. So a trav…

How Microsoft's Nokia payoff could take apps global

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This post was also published in VentureBeat. The mobile operating system wars are a battle for the future of computing, not a battle for the future of phones. Former Morgan Stanley analyst and newly minted venture capitalist Mary Meeker highlighted this fact in her latest Mobile Internet Trends presentation. The key trend: Smartphones and tablets together outshipped PCs for the first time last quarter.

The good news for developers: The tumult in the mobile market may mean that they have more leverage with the creators of new platforms than they ever had with Microsoft during the era of Windows on the PC.

What escaped the legacy mobile industry is that phones are no longer phones but are in fact full-fledged computers that required full-fledged operating systems. Computer hardware and software? That happens to be Silicon Valley’s specialty. No wonder that existing players were not able to compete with the likes of Apple and Google, the duo now dominating the smartphone category with t…

Ariana Huffington is right, and Rupert Murdoch is wrong

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This post was also published in VentureBeat. In the past week, we saw two moguls splash out big money on online content. News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch revealed he’d invested $30 million so far in developing The Daily, a subscription-only magazine for the iPad. And AOL CEO Tim Armstrong plunked down $315 million for Arianna Huffington’s Huffington Post.

What a contrast on the day of the Super Bowl: Murdoch (pictured left) took out a big-bucks television ad for The Daily during the football game (admittedly on his own Fox network, so he probably gave himself a discount). Meanwhile, Huffington (pictured right) and Armstrong got priceless free publicity as news of their deal roiled the Internet.

Could you ask for a better example of the difference in mindset between old media and new media? Take the top-down, orchestrated launch of The Daily. The reality didn’t match the fanfare: Short of must-read articles and clumsily walled off from search traffic and social media, The Daily — essenti…