Monday, September 28, 2009

Twitter’s Business Model: Will figuring the figures shift the social networking paradigm?

A recent article by Jessica E. Vascellaro and Michael Corkery of The Wall Street Journal “Twitter Lines Up Additional Funding” (Friday, September 25, 2009, Corporate News, B3) has sparked my interest and prompted me to share my thoughts on the latest funding fury. Twitter is in negotiations to receive up to $100 million to enable them more time to determine an appropriate business model they can transfer into economic value. According to the article, the business model may include the implementation of a database of twitterers segmented by keyword content from tweets which I believe may result in altering Twitter and the social networking media paradigm.

Many corporations believe that like RSS feed concerns back in 2005, Twitter is creating more risk of compromising ad spending since internet users are able to create their own PR buzz and get the information they want for free, and may push Twitter to incorporate a pay per click (PPC) program. When and if this occurs, I see Twitter becoming a “micro-search engine marketing” program, competing for dollars with the Googles, Yahoos, and MSNs of the world.

RSS and Twitter are almost identical systems which is why I believe a smart move for Twitter, besides due diligence, would be to model their business after Real Simple Syndication (RSS) as well as the leading search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN). RSS feeds, initially developed in 1999, became mainstream in 2005 and have been successfully and effectively publishing many updated periodicals in real time in an open free environment ever since. Anyone with a web site or blog can add the RSS icon to their site and get subscribers for free.

Although RSS and Twitter are different, both share the identical process:

• a user clicks on an RSS icon (twitterer’s icon) to subscribe (follow) to a feed (tweet)

• Twitter is limited to 140 characters, RSS is not and can be as long as it needs to be

• RSS feeds are used for publishing blog entries, news, audio, video, etc. and users can bookmark the feed; Twitter users are still new and are not yet using Twitter to it’s full potential the way others are using RSS

• Users add RSS onto their blog and submit their blogs to submitter sites or directories to increase the chances that people subscribe to their RSS feed much the same way twitterers follow others to get followed and post their Twitter links

• A big difference is that with Twitter, users post information about a new web site they have, include a link to it, write brief promo copy to attract other Twitterers to visit their site or follow, something we are unable to do with RSS

When used creatively, Twitter, like RSS feeds, can add hype and increase the chances of creating various internet revenue streams. RSS has been enabling many companies and individuals with the potential for additional revenue streams and affiliate programs on the internet; All this for free. Why then would anyone want to pay for Twitter should they create a database when we are able to have the entire Twitter universe now for free?

Below is a listing of some factors that I believe would need to be considered before developing and implementing a business model for Twitter:

1. “Twitter Narcissists”: How do you weed out “Twitter narcissists?” There are individuals doing up to 100 tweets per day to get thousands of followers so they can brag about it. And then what, do you sell a “Twitter Narcissist” list to a corporation for them to post an online ad? That just might happen and prove to be phenomenal.

2. Revealing Identities: Twitter and other social networks enable users to create profiles where they can include all personal things about themselves including age, gender, geographical area, hobbies, interests, join business groups, etc., along with all other types of content

3. Privacy: Some folks are putting personal things about themselves for the world to look at without ever realizing what they are doing, e.g., Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, etc. Issues are going to arise such as invasion of privacy, etc. prompting the FTC to intervene and incorporate more compliance laws. Our economy is strapped enough and now more government spending due to Twitter. Can our government afford this?

4. “What’s in it for me?”: Twitter is still so new.  Individuals are still learning and do not want to post without a clear reason and direction; There is no way to determine what twitterers are tweeting for their employers vs. who is tweeting individually, etc. Why would individuals continue to create buzz about something if Twitter is capitalizing on it without anything in it for the Twitterers making the buzz?

5. Identity-Centric Database: People are following other tweeters because of interests and the feeling of freedom associated with Twitter. Some even end up meeting them at events to discuss their passions, becoming colleagues, etc. Commercializing databases of Twitterers who originally participate for the uniqueness and freedom of Twitter may possibly hinder the uniqueness of the original intention of the social and professional networking media paradigm.

6. I’ve been tweeting for the fun of it and to let folks know what concerts, professional events, fundraisers, other places, etc. I’m attending or have attended,  as well as topics I’m interested in, blogs I’ve written, etc. I'm not utilizing all of the tool enhancements out there that can add thousands of followers to my Twitter account in one simple click. I’m Twittering to learn of groups that have similar interests similar to how I use my LinkedIn account.  Every now and then I  llike  to announce my new web site (which is still not up yet) but I will continue to include it and mention the status of this project. I’m also thinking about ways to capitalize (e.g., Adsense, etc.).

7. Twitter Account Segments: Corporate, Non-Profit, News Media, Non-News Media, Political Media, Non-Political Media, Individual Twitter Account – Segmenting corporate twitterers is going to be a very subjective and difficult task. Currently, many companies and individuals have multiple Twitter accounts. There is risk that many will opt out if they are forced to pay for accounts, posting links to their company site, blog, etc.

8. Assessing Twitter Analytics: Many experts are looking way too deep into the shallow stats and believe that they can judge the effectiveness of twitter by analyzing Twitter percentage rates of people's tweets (aka Twitter rate %) . All a Twitter rate % means is that that people are tweeting back and forth to each other. I’m not sure how a company can justify spend advertising dollars based on a Twitter account % rate. People talk back and forth on the phone, back and forth via email, via blogs, etc. Does that make your telephone wire or email more successful than another persons? It is going to be very difficult to measure which tweets are effective and which are not especially when attempting to base on the amount of tweets going back and forth to one person. There are also those of us who use the auto-responds, purchase software to get additional followers, etc.

9. Compromising Corporate Productivity: With all of the Twitter buzz lately, I still believe that anyone spending inordinate amounts of time Twittering at work is doing a big disservice, wasting valuable time and compromising corporate productivity; Eventually ending up with our country having more corporations going under and being bailed out at our (we the taxpayers) expense

10. Twitter is simply one of the many internet tools (i.e., RSS, email, podcasting, webcasts, micro-blogs, social and professional networks, etc.) used to integrate into a marketing program. There are many other social networks that can be used. Changing or adding on to Twitter other than what it currently is, may shift Twitter into an entirely new product, like a “micro-search engine,” or risk losing uniqueness, and tweeted into oblivion by becoming another friendster, lifestream, linkedin, facebook, flickr, etc.

written by Gloria Buono Daly (c) 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Web to Web 2.0 Timeline: Just in Time for Blogger's Big 010 !

Happy Birthday Blogger! Would you believe it, already Blogger  celebrating it's 10th? This is great news and amazing how since Web 2.0, bloggers have been springing up everywhere. Only thing is, we still do not have the exact birthday date. Maybe we could make that day "BLOG DAY an official holiday? Was it in August or in September? I’m certain many of us would love to know when the candles were blown out so that could have all joined in to sing "O Happy B Day Blogger...!" Blogger Buzz please keep us all posted on news about your BIG 010!

In 2007, Jonathan Adler of the Wall Street Journal reported an estimated 22.6 million bloggers in the US with less than a quarter of 1%, only .02% (452,000) using blogging as their primary source of income, illustrating that writers with their primary source of income from blogs are not a significant indication of the overall blogging population in the US. Interestingly the US internet users were estimated at 108.1 million in 2000 and as of June 2009 is reported at 251.7 million, an increase of 133% from 9 years ago with a country ranking of 3 at 15.1% of the 1.6 billion world internet user population with Asia ranking 1st at 42% of total 1.6 billion world internet users and Europe 2nd at 24.2%. Latin America/Caribbean ranks 4th at 10.5%. For a detailed chart of internet world stats go to Internet World Stats.

Below please find a brief Web to Web 2.0 timeline of newsworthy milestones which purport to provide a basic historical and informational chronology from a marketing perspective:

• 1994 – In January, Jerry Yang and David Filo create "Jerry's Guide to the WWW" while studying at Stanford University and renames it Yahoo in April

• 1995 – Yahoo is incorporated in March

• 1995 – Amazon is launched

• 1995 – Search engines are launched

• 1999 – Although bookmarking was around earlier, bookmarking became popular in businesses and mainstream during this period

• 2000 – Sites are optimized for search engines that were being catalogued on the Web

• 1996 to 1999 – Search engines are launched with pay per click programs, Open Text in 1996 and in 1998

• 1997 – The first blog goes online, known as “weblog” originally used as a niche for geeks; Weblog was coined in December 1997 by Jorn Barger 

• 1997 – The phrase “search engine optimization” is mostly likely coined during this period, according to Danny Sullivan of  The New York Times

• 1998 – Google  is founded by Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin and files for incorporation in California on September 7th

• 1999 – The first version of RSS feed is created in March by Romanathan V. Guha for use on the portal (RSS 0.9)

• 1999 – Blogger  is launched. Evan Williams and Megan Hourihan of Pyra Labs, originally created this software with the intention of being an in-house application to integrate project management, contact management and task lists. Blogger becomes available to the public in August but does not become mainstream until later

• 2000 – Google reaches the first billion-URL index and earns the reputation of being the largest search engine in the world; Adwords program is launched offering internet pay per click programs; Yahoo selects Google as it's default search results provider

• 2001 – changes their name to Overture (purchased by Yahoo later)

• 2001 – According to MediaPost on August 9, 2001, Jupiter research predicted spending on digital marketing US ad spending would reach $19 billion by 2006

• 2001 – Wikipedia is available but is not yet mainstream
• 2001 – Danny Sullivan of The New York Times coins the term “Search Engine Marketing”

• 2002 – Search Engine Marketing US advertising spending reaches approximately $1.3 billion

• 2002 – Blogger  is completely rewritten at Prya Labs for licensure for other countries, with Globo company of Brazil becoming the first licensee recipient

• 2002 – Blogs gain momentum

• 2002 – Consumer Reports WebWatch files a report about the controversy and issues on search engine paid advertising

• 2002 - Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issues communications about the importance of paid advertising on search engines in response to a complaint from Consumer Advocacy Group, affiliated with Ralph Nader

• 2003 – Google purchases Blogger in February

• 2003 – Yahoo purchases the Overture pay per click (PPC) program and offers paid online advertising

• 2003 –,  initially known as a passive bookmark function launches; Later on becomes very popular with the launch of Friendster (2007); Users are able to let other users see what they are bookmarking; Social bookmarking gained popularity with the launch of

• 2003 – The second US 3G (3rd generation cellular wireless) Verizon Wireless network operation launches; The first US Monet Mobile Wireless launched and shut down shortly afterwards; Japan, May 2001 and Korea, May 2002, were the first 2 countries to launch 3G operation networks

• 2003 - The Can Spam Act is signed into law on December 16th by President George W. Bush to regulate commercial email and is enforced by the FTC

• 2004 - Yahoo launches its own web-crawling algorithm in February, using its own site index phasing out Google's search results system it has used since May 2000

• 2004 -Google launches Gmail; In April Amazon partnered with Google using it' search results system

• 2004 - The first Annual Advertising Week Conference begins in September in New York City

• 2004 -  Web 2.0 O’Reilly Conference is held on October 5 – 7, 2004 at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco, CA. Although about16 years into Web 0.0 and 5 years into Web 2.0, we still do not know where it is going; Transformational elements are unknown as Web-Web2.0 are still new and the industry has no idea of what infrastructures will go away. Many innovations with no ads, no subscription feeds, free to the end user, are floating on venture capital. Big issue is these innovations lack business models and it is predicted that many of these web innovations probably will not survive unless purchased, merged, with a larger company, etc.
  • Wikipedia and Blogs become mainstream; Momentum is largely attributable to the announcement of Web 2.0
  • February 2004 Flickr (image tag base navigation becomes available)
  • February 2004 - it is estimated that Facebook has over 10 billion photos from over 125 million users by the end of 2004 (Facebook & Flickr become the biggest privacy disasters)

• 2005 – National Governments all over the world embrace Web 2.0 and create official blogs; Israel is the first country to have a government blog, IsraelPolitik

• 2005 - February 2005 – YouTube

• 2005 – August 2005 - Library Thing

• 2005 – Search Engine Marketing advertising spending is at approximately $5.8 billion (a 363% increase from 2002)

• 2005 – Google begins personalizing search results by users dependent upon user’s previous search history

• 2005 – In December, Microsoft and the Outlook team announce they are using the RSS feed icon which was first used in the Mozilla Firefox Browser 

• 2006 - $18.7 billion on internet ads was invested worldwide in 2006

• 2006 – Twitter is launched in October and evolves into a virtual water cooler experience having the power to hold social groups; Users can chat away about what they're doing and if anyone is interested in knowing, they can read, or watch what you’re doing and reply, follow, etc.; E.g., discuss iPhone feature,  communicate with people in different parts of the world separated in space and time; Although it is not the same as face to face it is similar enough to feel some kind of connection to people using twitter, Facebook or Youtube

• 2006 – Search Engine Marketing takes the lead in advertising and grows much faster than traditional advertising and other online marketing channels; US SEM advertising spending reaches approximately $9.4 billion, (a 62% increase over 2005 US spending); Worldwide, US 2006 ad spending had a 38% marketshare of total global internet ad spending calculated at $24.9 billion internet ads invested worldwide in 2006 (an increase of 33% from the previous year’s worldwide ad spending); Interesting to note that Jupiter’s estimate back in August 2001 was off by almost $10.0 billion less than actual of $9.4 billion

• 2006 – Google acquires YouTube, an internet video sharing service

• 2007 – October 2007 FriendFeed is created by former Google employees (known as the first lifestreaming service integrating all of your internet activity in your friendfeed nework, can have messages from twitter pulled into friendfeed which generates a lot of discussion in friendfeed and social networking feedback which can lead you to discover other sources of friends with similar interests; If you are traveling and you are in the same location as someone else in your friendfeed network, this can be a useful tool in knowing who in your network is nearby; all different internet activities are funneled into a single place and has a personal view; has the highest level of discussion, can get a huge amount of interaction in friendfeed more than from blogs; can create a room and pull entries from different sources that can create an RSS feed, audio podcasts, etc. used by science publishers, libarians, etc. create customized feeds that can come to you, the individual, on what type of information you want to have delivered to you)

• 2007 – pay-per-click programs become primary money-makers for search engines

• 2007 – Google announces a campaign against “paid links” that transfer page rank and many urls are suspended and banned from the Web

• 2007 – China's launch of 3G network is delayed in September 2007; A total of 190 3G networks are operating in 40 countries by December 2007

• 2008 – Google Chrome is released on September 4th and celebrates it's 10th year on September 7th

• 2008 – Sprint NOW 3G Network (3rd generation of cellular wireless) is launched in December

• 2008 – Web 2008 World of Social Networking:  private information becomes public

  • Blogs, wikis, RSS, bookmarking, image tagging, multimedia, search, etc. 

• 2008 – US internet ad spending reaches $27.5 billion

• 2008 – The Dow's biggest one-day drop on September 29, 2008 of 778 points (surpassing the first trading day loss after 9/11), after the rejection of the House bailout plan; According to CNN Money, this drop represents an approximate value loss of $1.2 trillion

• 2009 – Google takes measures to mitigate the effects of PageRank sculpting by use of nofollow attribute on links

• 2009 – The future of blogging is customization and life relevancy; After 16 years after inception, LifeStream  is all the buzz as the next generation of social media. Back in the mid 1990’s, the term LifeStream was originally coined by Eric Freeman and David Gelertner at Yale University to describe a cyber diary of one’s life, streaming all of internet activities in one cohesive lifestream. Now about 15 years later, LifeStreaming, an innovative cyber platform combines all of a individual’s internet activities and information onto a unified platform known as a stream. Addins and plugins are created to help the user to “stream his/her life” and are listed as follows:

• 2009 - Advertising Week celebrates it's fifth annual event September 21st - 25th at the Nokia Theatre in New York City

• 2009 - Blogger is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary by adding lots of features requested by it's users; Wonder what day was the actual birthday and who blew out the candles? Any belated birthday blog celebrations besides mine which comes with cake and all? Perhaps Blogger's celebration will be at the next Web 2.0 Summitt

October 2009 - Web 2.0 Summit, Co-produced by TechWeb and O’Reilly Media Inc. is being held on October 20 - 22, 2009 in San Francisco, CA at the Westin San Francisco Market Street

• If you are interested in following please feel free to follow me on Twitter at  

If you have any comments about Blogger's Big 010, don't hesitate to post your comments. Thanks for visiting and again, "Happy Blog Day to you Blogger!"

written by Gloria Buono Daly (c) 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Twitter and the Ripple Effect: More than spreading your wings and tweeting!

Twitter, a micro-blog with a 140-character-limit blurb known as a “tweet” having potential to create a chain of social media networking events that can lead to exponentially larger alterations of social media networking instances. Twittering appears to have maximized the power of connecting. In less than 4 years, it is  estimated that there are over 250 million twitter accounts worldwide.

But if you think that Twitter and the bird’s far reaching effect is enough to make your media campaign a success, try spreading your wings and flying. You just might find yourself in a nose-dive!

Of course, everyone is twittering, with hopes of creating shifts in perspectives that will lead to greater connections, better businesses and stronger communities.

It’s been said that a sea gull’s simple flap of a wing can change weather, and so too a simple tweet can create ripple effects in the customers, employees, friends, colleagues and even those people and entities that you have never known and now suddenly have become your followers.

Why then are there still no analytics for measuring effectiveness, or tried and true processes and marketing solutions from this bird?

Although Twitter’s wide massive appeal has grown so quickly in such a brief time, it is still considered new. Twitter became available to the public in 2006 but really gained momentum in April 2007. According to Wikipedia “The tipping point for Twitter's popularity was the 2007 South by Southwest, SXSW, festival. During the event usage went from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000.” This all occurring after the Web 2.0 buzz of 2006, which arose 2 years after the first Web 2.0 Oreilly Conference, October 5 – 7, 2004, at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco, CA.

Today, there are many factors that contribute to the success of a social networking marketing campaign and Twitter is just one of the many digital integrated marketing tools. Besides having experience, skill and passion about what you are communicating, successful social media marketing requires a well thought out, detailed, marketing plan and timeline. Even with all this, there are still no guarantees; What works for one company or person  may not be as effective for another.

While there are no magic bullets that will guarantee the overall success of your campaign, below you will find a listing of some helpful tips to guide you through the process of integrating twittering into your corporate digital marketing programs:

1. Create momentum with effective communications and set up kick-off meetings well in advance of your deliverables

2. Optimal participation is key. Schedule regular (weekly or bi-weekly) meetings (virtual or in person) and involve as many employees/departments in your organization.

3. Ensure that your meeting handouts include guidelines for branding specs, e.g., having company logo included on all tweets, regardless of whether a company is using different blog/tweet names for different products,/themes, etc., appropriate tone, buzzwords, keywords, etc.

4. If your social marketing media campaign calls for multiple bloggers and twitterers, make sure your respective tweet names match respective tweet blogs; This information should all be mapped out (e.g., spreadsheet) and incorporated into your digital marketing plan alongside all of the other marketing tools you will be integrating

5. Use common sense and discuss best practice to ensure employee tweeters know their leaps and bounds when contributing to avoid compromising your blogs/tweets integrity and reputation

6. Tie in tweets with your company’s blogs – an example is how Martha Stewart’s tips, ideas, etc., from her blog into tweets – again, not necessarily coming from someone from her company, but created such a brand following that followers as well as employees include her ideas in their blogs

7. Understand and learn of the importance of following potential customers, existing customers, vendors, suppliers, etc.

8. Incorporate short and simple auto-respond tweets for new followers – assuring real-time reply in the event no one is able to respond immediately; Although the majority of folks recommend not using auto-responds, my suggestion is to test the waters but keep auto-responds short, thanking them for connecting and sharing relevant information.  If you feel auto-responding is working against you, simply remove it. At least you can say you gave it a try.

9. Understand the importance of hashtags and other application enhancements and use them carefully. E.g., including hashtags in your tweets, e.g., #followfriday; and applications, Tweet Meme, etc. There are pros and cons to hashtags - some folks feel the short 140-character blurbs get distorted from the #hashtag symbol while others are embracing it. So far, I haven't been incorporating hashtags into my tweets. I plan on giving #hashtags a try soon.

10. If you are interested in following please feel free to follow me on Twitter at

written by Gloria Buono Daly (c) 2009