The Human Touch

23 07 2007

Monopoly

(Source: Wikipedia)

Remember playing Monopoly – the capitalistic real estate game continuously popular for over three generations around the world? Who was the designated banker when you played? Who hid a stash of money under the board for the big reveal when bankruptcy loomed? Did house rules allow inside trading? Every deal was a cash deal, sealed with a handshake. Nina Smith of blogher (the community for women who blog) says: …the good ‘ole fashioned board games (think Monopoly) that taught us as a kids that cash is king. How’s that for personification?

 

Fish

A great article from Chaya Brian Carvalho earlier this year featured her company bcwebwise and enumerated the strategyto give the internet the power of the human touch – and from the looks of it, it is turning into more than just Monopoly money for her and her team. Here’s more from the article but you will want to read the whole piece yourself:

 

Community building generates more interest than just normal promotional campaigns. A community appeals to users and, hence, makes sense to marketers for two main reasons:

1. It entertains and emotes. When done properly, the space is an interesting experience for the user and generates some kind of reaction.

2. It allows users some level of control. Community allows users to control the experience. They can view only what they want and also get to know more about the product in an unobtrusive manner, in fact they are there out of their own choice.

Community networks will be measured by the pass-along rate or “ripples”. Impressions versus ripples? The choice for the savvy and ROI-focused brand manager will be easy. It’s not about how many rocks you throw in the pond, but how many ripples you create, how many people you involve, how much of human interaction there is.

 

Carvalho Carvalho calls the Internet high-speed access to another soul. In my previous post, I compared two very popular communities – Netscape and Digg. Social Media is changing the way we look at things.

Simplicity. Social Media and Web 2.0 have a common thread to revolutionize the internet beyond technology. Certainly they look to simplify through the use of more intuitive, clean technology, and minimalist design. Together they change customer service as well- for the customer and for the provider. Web2.0 is all about simplicity. Flattening layers within these companies show the world that very popular sites can be run by a handful of people. Next we see a new social customer service climate. You can think of your customer service as a chat session with the owner of the company or the manufacturer of your purchase.

NowSourcingNowSourcing is one such company. The original concept of NowSourcing was to outsource IT deliverables with efficiency, simplicity – without borders and crossing time zones as needed. The emphasis is on loyalty – not brand loyalty when we recommend a suite of services to a client. The concept has been branded NowSourcing. We now see that this new form of social media includes community involvement – the human touch. The work we do is what the client would do for herself if she could. With our help, she can.

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Netscape is Better than Digg

19 07 2007

or, at least in my opinion it is.As the new version of Netscape is just over a year old now, it seemed like a good time to fairly compare Netscape and Digg, the 2 most popular social news media sites. Pronet did a good job going over the basics of Netscape, as they did for Digg as well.

By the Stats

Digging further into the details – yes – Alexa, Compete, and anyone else that covers stats clearly shows Digg as the winner. As of 7/19/07, Alexa ranks Digg as 95 versus Netscape’s 569 ranking.

But wait…what about Page Rank?


8 Digg

vs.

9Netscape

Of course, Netscape has an unfair advantage as they have been around longer than most people have been on the Internet. Still, PageRank is PageRank – and Netscape wins.

 

How about Stickiness?

Over to Compete for some analysis, we see the a Netscape user has 7.1 pages per visit versus Digg’s 3.9. For the average visit length – Netscape is more than twice as good, scoring 3:04 vs. 1:22 on Digg.

Beyond the Stats

Digg is a larger community, and has been in full view of the public for a longer time as social media with a year head start over Netscape.

Netscape on the other hand is still associated with being a browser or some sort of search engine. If you asked the average user, most do not know about the relaunch of Netscape.

You’ve already heard the clichés that Digg is for young, immature people whereas Netscape users are older, and news headline / politically minded. You have probably also heard that Netscape is just a Digg clone.

Still, Netscape just seems like a nicer community to me. It’s mainly news and politics based, but I’ve seen many good articles there about tech, humor, and religion. Digg still seems to be very tech and gag focused. Look at the top stories side by side:

Netscape Top Stories

Digg Top Stories

There’s just something about Netscape for me. It just seems more like a community. Maybe it’s the little images next to the top stories. Something about it seems more friendly to me. What do you think? Would love to hear your opinions.





Top 10 Reasons Companies Don’t Need a Website

17 06 2007

Here’s a top 10 list of reasons I’ve compiled of companies that either think they don’t need a website at all, or have an outdated site that badly needs updating:

1 – I’m too small of a company to have a website.

Well, I’ve heard of many people that have a website for their one man band operation. Better still, others have sites for companies that they have started on the side.

2 – We are only based locally.

At first glance, this looks like a plausible reason not to have a website. However, it is not. Wonderful things like Geo-Targeting increase a local company’s visibility in the region. Bob Nicholson does a good job explaining how Google uses Geo-Targeting for AdSense marketing in this video:

3 – I have a small website already, and it works just fine.

Your current website might not fit your company’s needs as well as it used to. The site may be outdated and not display correctly in modern browsers. Also, if you choose to advertise, your site may not be search engine ready. There may also be broken to links that you have linked to in the past.

4 – I’d like to have a website, but I heard that it costs too much.

A new website or a good refresh of an old one starts in the hundreds of dollars for a basic site, depending on how much is involved. You could even get a canned template website for less than that (although not preferred, more about that later).

5 – It probably isn’t worth the investment.

Depending on the line of work you’re in, even if your new website generates one sale, you could make back the money you spent on getting your website up and running. Also, today’s competitive market dictates that a prospective client might see your company as behind the times or unable to compete if you do not already have a website by now.
6 – It’s too difficult to maintain.

A basic website only needs the maintenance of having new and exciting content. Modifying content on basic websites is easy enough if you know basic HTML.

7 – Well, I don’t know nor do I want to learn HTML. I want to make my own changes, and don’t want to spend money just to have a webmaster make changes for me.

Fair point (but I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard this one 🙂 ). You should install a web content management system so that you’ll be able to modify your pages without the danger of breaking your code.

8 – We are low tech, so we don’t need one.

Regardless of industry, a website can enhance any company’s business. I’ve seen many manufacturing companies that greatly benefit once they are able to take quotations and orders online. They even extend some protected areas of their sites to their partners (called an extranet).

9 – We already advertise the way we always have (print, radio, tv, etc).

That’s fine, but your competition has full access to the web, why shouldn’t you?

10 – I wouldn’t know where to start.

As with anything new to you – just take the first step and speak to a reputable website design / development company. A good company should be able to bring you through the process and more importantly keep you involved without taking the project over 100%. If you as the customer do not stay in the loop, don’t blame the web development company when it turns out to not at all be what you were looking for.





Something is very wrong with Google PageRank checkers

17 06 2007

Tonight, 2 of the more popular Google PageRank checkers, namely PRChecker.info and Checkpagerank.com are down for the count.

In fact, going to the root of PRChecker.info (rather than the PageRank page – http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php, which just comes up as a 404) just brings you to a default Apache Page:

PRChecker not responding?

This really sucks, considering that many people that host PageRank checkers on their site actually route through PRChecker.info.

Update: 6/17/07, 12:54pm – PRChecker.info is back online, but Checkpagerank.com is still showing as offline.