Archive for the ‘slippery slope’ tag
Instagram has just announced 80 million users and a new app update; Noticeably missing in the update? The “Find Your Friends” on Twitter feature, which allowed users to follow the same people they follow on Twitter on Instagram.
The “Tweet Photo” feature is still available.
We’ve learned that the feature is missing due to API restrictions from Twitter’s end, restrictions that possibly came about over concerns about Instagram’s scale and its strain on data pulls.
Many social apps like The Fancy and Foursquare still have access to this part of the Twitter API — it seems very likely that Instagram was the largest developer using the Twitter Friend Graph.
The decision is especially perplexing for multiple reasons having to do with Valley politics: Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is also an investor in Instagram and the two companies share Benchmark as an investor. One could speculate that this is a competitive move on Twitter’s part, a direct attack on Facebook’s social graph via limiting access to its recent acquisition (Instagram).
Twitter’s agenda here isn’t at all clear, but one possibility is that it wants to control the photos experience on its platform (and preclude Facebook from doing the same). Selectively limiting API access by company is definitely strange behavior in an ecosystem that thrives on API symbiosis. Imagine if Google just decided to shut off Google Maps access to apps randomly?
Before this, Twitter’s most recent move in the API wars was pulling tweets off of LinkedIn, a decision that now seems like the beginning of a slippery slope.
Don't hassle the cardboard cutout of the Hoff! Or actually, whatever, go ahead—Cumberland Farms doesn't mind. The convenience-store chain, which mostly operates in New England and Florida, recently put up 570 cutouts of David Hasselhoff, its new brand spokesman, outside its stores. A staggering 550 cutouts have now reportedly been stolen, leaving just 20 of them to leer at passersby. Kate Ngo, a brand strategist for the chain, tells the AP that Cumberland Farms isn't too upset about this. "We want everyone to enjoy the Hoff," she says. "We're flattered by the attention." She then backtracks, realizing it's a slippery slope. "We certainly don't encourage theft at our stores," she adds. The company says it plans to address the issue on its Facebook page, and has a request for anyone who has stolen a cutout. "We want to know at least the Hasselhoff is safe and he's being taken care of," Ngo says. Sound perhaps a little staged. Check out one of the brand's Hoff TV spots, from Boston ad agency Full Contact, below.
Competition can be a good thing. Rather than warning us to steer clear of a new market, sector, approach or niche, competition often validates that the things we’ve set our sites on are worth pursuing (if only for the fact that someone else recognized the very same opportunity). Competition also keeps us on our toes — driving us to raise our standards in an effort to win and retain customers. For these reasons, and I’m sure at least a few others, having competition is good. Knowing your competition is good. So is being aware of what your competition is doing.
Obsessing over your competition, on the other hand, is not good at all. And it can put your company on a slippery slope — taking you from follow the leader, to follow the followers. And fast.
So here are three reasons why (mostly) ignoring the competition might be one of the smartest business decisions you’ll ever make.
Obsessing About Your Competition Dilutes Your Own Vision
Particularly in the early days of a new venture but also over the long haul, it’s tempting to dive deep under the hood of some set of perceived competitors — what they offer, how they talk about their businesses, who they service, how they support clients… Seems sound enough, but there’s a fine line between inspiration and imitation (shifting your vision to ape the ways the rest of the players in your sector go to market). And behind imitation hides a whole world of missed opportunities (not making a specific play you feel strongly about simply because you worry another company has already met your customers’ needs; moving into new areas you aren’t especially passionate about simply because everyone else is already there). Spend too much time trying to out-think the competition and not enough time thinking for yourself, and you could find yourself running a company that doesn’t much look like your company at all.
Still need inspiration to fire up your vision? Why not think about what it might look like if a new or unexpected disruptor entered your market tomorrow? The next company to disrupt the travel industry won’t do it with planes and trains — they’ll do it by offering video conference technology so good that traveling to face-to-face meetings is unnecessary. The next big software innovation just might come from Ford; the next healthcare breakthrough from Nike. Just examples to make the point, but certainly plausible. The competition isn’t necessarily who you think it is — not anymore, and not ever again. So imagine how an outsider would reinvent your industry, then come up with a smart plan for reinventing it yourself. You’ll bring a fresh perspective to even the stalest of sectors, and craft a truly unique vision that your company can own.
Taking Cues from Your Competition Can Lead to Parity Products
It’s one thing to make sure your core offerings conform to your market’s expectations, and sometimes that means having a working knowledge of what the other guys offer. But it’s another thing altogether when you find yourself playing a constant game of catch-up based solely on the moves your competitors make — adding features because everyone else has, scaling back services that nobody else offers, etc. Besides, following your competitors’ lead here is no guarantee you’re building better product or service offerings for your audience.
Who, then, should you take cues from? Well, how about your customers? While there might be some truth in reckoning that customers don’t always know what they want (especially if you’re offering something they’ve never been offered before), they are certainly a better barometer than your competitors. Even when a customer can’t articulate a solution, they can certainly articulate pain point, an unmet need, or even a must-have that no other provider yet offers.
Keeping Your Eye on Your Competition Results in Me Too Marketing
Ever wonder why just about every company in your sector markets in just about the same way, regardless of the actual ROI? Consider this: While you’re making marketing choices based on your view into what all of your key competitors are already doing, you can rest assured that your competitors are making their marketing choices based on what their key competitors are doing. And of course, their key competitors include you…You can see where this is headed. Lots of look-alike companies vying for the same attention, targeting the same niches, saying the same things the same ways, advertising in the same periodicals, and exhibiting at the same trade shows. All competing on price because there’s nothing else to set you apart.
Instead, why not take a page out of a very different marketing playbook? Specifically, one used by companies very much unlike yours. If you’re a business-to-business marketer, why not appropriate something that seems to be working for a consumer brand? If you’re B2C, why not see what you can learn from your B2B counterparts (for example: content marketing has been a mainstay of B2B marketing for decades, long before it became a hot tactic among global consumer brands)? If you’re a startup, why not find a creative, low cost way to pull-off a breakthrough approach that worked well for a Fortune 100 company you respect? If you’re a multinational corporation, why not ditch the tried-and-true in favor of the nimble new tactics a growth company outside your sector is using to drive rapid expansion?
At the end of the day, even a “fast follower” is still a follower. And you didn’t get into business to be a follower, did you?
Early studies into the question focused on equating the value of a Like to dollars and cents, with some whitepapers making somewhat audacious claims about the monetary value of Likes. In my opinion, the insights that support the cost per acquisition of a Facebook Like seems to be a bit less of a stretch.
Groups of industry thinkers have designed complex formulas that provide a framework for determining the lifetime value of a fan. Some others have figured out how to manipulate Google Analytics in a way that helps determine assisted conversion value, providing an ‘apples to apples’ benchmark against other, more traditional digital marketing activities.
From all of these different approaches, one thing is for certain — trying to place value on a Facebook Like is a slippery slope at best.
An Expression of Intent To Subscribe
As Jay’s Social Pro’s Podcast # 13 with guest Tom Webster pointed out, subscribing to an email is a linear expression of permission from a recipient to a sender. When you leave your email address in the box, you are granting the owner of the site permission to deliver whatever email that they produce directly to your inbox.
On Facebook pages however, the expression of permission changes to become a bit more complex. When a user Likes a page on Facebook, they are only expressing their ‘intent to subscribe’ to the updates that will be published to that page’s Timeline. Expressing intent to subscribe is the first step in a more cyclical process that Facebook uses to score content and ultimately deliver status updates to a the news feeds of page fans.
A study conducted in June of last year by popular Facebook analytics tool PageLever shows that on average, only 7.49% of Facebook fans actually see fan page updates in their profile news feed on a daily basis. What’s even more interesting to consider is that as the size of the page’s fan base increases, the number of impressions created by content distributed to the profile news feeds of fans decreases.
This gradual decline in newsfeed impressions seems to support the idea that the expression of ‘Liking’ a page is indeed different than granting explicit permission for delivery as with opt-in email lists.
Transforming Intent to Delivery
The magic of intent to subscribe is rooted in Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm, which is the vehicle that determines what content from a Facebook page is distributed to the profile newsfeed of fans.
In EdgeRank, a Like is seen as an individual fans expression of ‘Affinity‘ for the page and it’s content. This expression is a critical first step that leads to the activating the two remaining factors in an objects EdgeRank score.
The Weight of the object increases by the type of Edge (clicked or typed interaction) created by the fan. The score is determined by how much effort it takes the user to interact. For instance, simply liking a status update carries less weight than leaving a typed comment in that it takes the user more time and brain power to complete the action. If a large number of fans interactions take place within a relatively short time period from the when the update is originally published, the third score of Time Decay for the object is also increased.
The combination of all three scores creates the sum total of EdgeRank for the content object. Objects with higher EdgeRank are in turn distributed by way of the profile newsfeed to a higher percentage of page fans.
It also appears that Facebook’s pre-IPO development of new in-stream advertising products dubbed as ‘Reach Generator‘ supports these assumptions, promising managed account holders that for a sizable fee, Reach Generator will deliver their page status updates to between of 60-85% of their total fan base.
Converting Delivery to Dollars
A larger study conducted by social media agency SocialCode in the fall of 2011 suggests that Facebook fans are approximately 291% more likely to convert on any of the 7 engagement actions on a Facebook fan page than non-fans, which includes the ability to purchase products and services.
Looking at more than 5 million Facebook ads placed by over 50 clients (spanning verticals, but mostly in consumer packaged goods, auto and finance) from between May and September of this year, the study looked at the cost of acquiring new fans, and what it took to get them to perform a desired action.
Unsurprisingly, it found that fans perform desirable actions such as installing an app, voting in a contest and making a purchase at a much higher rate, and it’s significantly cheaper to prompt them to do so through advertising than it is to prompt non-fans.
To couple this, The Social Habit study conducted by Edison Research suggests that approximately 33% of social network users knowingly follow brands, products or services on social networks. Among the respondents surveyed, it was discovered upwards of 80% of those who do indeed follow brands, products or companies indicate that Facebook is the network they use the most to to do so.
Everyone Needs to Be Liked
For marketers looking to leverage Facebook as a tactical weapon in their marketing mix, the data shows that Like’s are critical factor in building an audience with potential to convert.
Without page Likes as an expression of a Facebook user’s intent to subscribe, organic fan base growth becomes inhibited. Measurements present in Facebook Insights and third party tools like PageLever such as the Total Reach, PTAT and Virility that have been designed to show the effectiveness of Facebook’s prized algorithm will be extremely limited.
Likewise, if you do plan to take advantage of any of Facebook’s in-stream advertising features, the size of your total fan base absolutely matters in a big way.
Even though we may not be able to accurately project what the monetary value of a Like, there is value present for each fan that expresses an intent to subscribe to the content shared on the Timeline. It’s a wise move for marketers to focused on generating Likes before experimenting with other Facebook promotions that lead to more traditional business KPI’s.
About the Nate Riggs: Nate Riggs is a bluegrass-loving dad of 3 who also speaks nationally on how businesses can use social media and other disruptive technologies to win and keep the attention of their customers. He leads social media strategy as the Director of Social Business at The Karcher Group, a digital agency that acquired his consulting firm (Social Business Strategies, LLC) in January of 2012.
Apple may be a big dog in music and movie sales and rentals, but it’s definitely not a big dog in e-books. That’s what makes this note from Seth Godin particularly galling. In a post on PaidContent, Godin writes that Apple has refused to sell his new book Stop Stealing Dreams because it contains links to Amazon in the bibliography.
The reason cited is that there were “Multiple links to Amazon store.” This could be an overzealous Apple gatekeeper messing up, but they definitely messed up with the wrong guy.
Arguably, the Apple book store doesn’t necessarily have to be involved in this whole thing, especially considering you can grab an epub right here. And, arguably, Godin does add his own affiliate ID in the link, which will presumably get him a cut for the hot, hot hardcover technology books he references in the text. Arguably, as well, Apple is being dicks.
This sort of move is a slippery slope. Folks who have been following Apple’s draconian app guidelines will understand the impetus here – the refusal to allow commercial activity outside of Apple’s purview – but that doesn’t make it right. I could, for example, add a link to my cookbook (“Order crystallized stoat musk at the Village Stoathandler ($5 with the coupon code LOVESTOATMUSK)”) that essentially points a reader to something they would not normally know about. As Godin notes:
Books are books are books – until they aren’t. We can take this argument in either direction. First we can say that the book is a sacred space free of commerce and that Apple is correct in their refusal to pollute the written word as such (you can, incidentally, buy my book here. It’s tangentially related). Second we can say that Apple should have control over what is sold through their channels for various reasons, legal, ethical, aesthetic, and otherwise even if that sale is made within a book and even if Apple doesn’t sell that book in its own store. Either way – the effete artists route or the mercenary merchant’s route – turns this great e-book experiment into a more cynical place than it needs to be.
In the end, Apple has no right to check the insides of books but by gar they will. They will refuse to sell a book on school-marmish grounds, just as any bookseller can refuse to sell Henry Miller or that vapid slobber-fest that is Heaven Is For Real, but it makes them look like idiots. They can begrudge a dude for links, as well. Why not? It’s a free country and it’s their walled garden. Sure that’s like refusing to allow a band to sell CDs out of its trunk because it would undercut the tickets sold at the skeezy club they’re playing, but commerce is commerce and censorship is censorship is censorship – and this is both.
Tools cannot judge of their own use. The hammer does not rebel at striking pavement, the brush recoil at distasteful composition. This is true of the internet and its tools as well. What is bittorrent? A way to easily transfer large files between peers. Used by many people in legitimate ways, by pirates for illicit purposes. Bittorrent can’t choose to allow one and deny the other. If it could, it would no longer be a tool.
What is Reddit? A way for millions of people to collaboratively promote links and discuss them more or less anonymously. Used by many people in legitimate ways, and by pedophiles for illicit purposes. Reddit has decided to be more proactive in their policing of the site. If Reddit ever was truly a tool, it isn’t any longer.
Not that this is a bad thing, exactly. It’s just not going to work. To paraphrase Churchill, this was the worst thing Reddit could do, except for every thing they could have done.
Some people are worried that it’s a slippery slope thing. First, they came for the pedophiles, that kind of thing. Or a free speech thing. Where can I safely discuss the superiority of the Aryan race with a community of like-minded bigots?
Really, though, the practical changes are minimal. Reddit is banning and more carefully enforcing existing bans on child pornography. That’s more or less the entire thing. Reddit is unlikely to break its appeal by “ban creep,” looking for more and more reasons to mow down their community. They’re not like that. They’ll play whack-a-mole with kiddie porn subreddits until either the bad guys stop coming to Reddit or they find some way to exist without being shut down. In either case we’ll stop hearing about it, and in either case it’s just a drop removed from the bucket.
Their other options aren’t any better. Just do the minimum legal required? The world will look at Reddit as a cesspool instead of the vibrant community of communities that it truly is. And they can’t mess with the basic idea of the site by restricting the creation of subreddits or other changes to the mechanics.
The danger to Reddit is a little more subtle than these immediate, practical concerns. The danger is that they will no longer be viewed as a tool, a machine through which people can trade things. Now there is a ghost in the machine, and the ghost is watching. What if the creators of Bittorrent altered the protocol irreversibly so that it would detect child porn being transferred? You’d say good, I’m not a pedophile and this isn’t a problem for me, so no worries. But you’d also view Bittorrent differently, not the organization, but the tool. It would, like Reddit, have changed its aspect in a fundamental way.
In the meantime, the world is not changing. It’s a terrible world and a terrible internet, and no matter what you do, create, or promote, someone will find a way to use it for something awful and hateful. People are like that. And the better the tools, the better with which to commit misdeeds. The greater the edifice, the greater the shadow it casts – and the internet is the greatest edifice of our time.
But the world was built, and will continue to be built, by tools that don’t question their use. It doesn’t mean that something like Reddit (or Twitter, or Facebook, or Flickr) can’t be useful, powerful, and popular. But it’s important to recognize the difference between tools and things that are useful. It’s useful to have a permit, rubber-stamped and recognized by the powers that be, when you’re building a house, but you don’t build a house with a permit. For that, you need a hammer.
Flickr is letting the people of the web suck the life and beauty out of its site today.
The Yahoo-owned photo-sharing service is encouraging members to darken photos for a 24-hour period with a “Darken this photo” call-to-action on each and every photo hosted across the popular service.
The drastic measure is meant to be symbolic of the dark implications of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, two controversial pieces of legislation making their way through the House and the Senate.
Flickr members can darken up to 10 photos — either their own photos or the photos of others — to show their solidarity and support the anti-SOPA movement. Members can also choose to opt-out from the site-wide campaign via the “Darken this photo” box on any photo.
With the gesture, Flickr has joined a growing list of tech companies in an all-out Internet blackout attempt designed to spread awareness of the censorship dangers associated with SOPA and PIPA.
Why is Flickr willing to tamper with its most-prized possession in such a bold fashion? In a nutshell, the SOPA and PIPA bills would give the U.S. government and copyright holders the authority to seek court orders against foreign-operated websites associated with pirating intellectual property. Most of the companies participating in Wednesday’s blackout, including Flickr, believe that Internet piracy is a very real problem, but see these bills as granting excessive authority to the government and threatening the web as we know it.
“These bills have the potential to stifle innovation, require censorship of search results, impose monitoring obligations, and change the way information is distributed on the web,” Flickr senior community manager Zack Sheppard said. “Government regulation of online activities is a slippery slope, and these proposed bills fall down that slope without truly addressing the issues that ignited this debate.
The U.S. government is currently considering to bills that are causing quite a stir — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). According to TechCrunch, “Websites found to offer pirated content, along with the services that they use, could be hidden from US internet users by being delisted on search engines and potentially on DNS servers themselves.”
Many people believe with these bills, we’d be heading down a slippery slope and the legislation could threaten free speech. Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales has decided to send a message by going dark for 24 hours on Wednesday, Jan. 18 in protest of SOPA and PIPA. Wikipedia is joining many other websites, such as Reddit, and businesses that are stopping operations for the day in an effort to increase awareness about the two bills.
Post from: EveryJoe
Dave Morin and Path’s secondary standalone app With “is winding down”, according to a tweet, email, and blog post from Path. “Now tweet who you’re with directly from Path”, the email explains. The encouraged migration signals the end of Path’s experiment with a stripped down, single feature experience. Details are sparse but this looks like an early warning to With users that the app will be sunsetted soon, though it still currently functions.
Path’s blog posts says “After a long and friendly coexistence, two apps have become one. And the pair has settled on a name: Path 2.” With’s end just 6 months after its launch resurfaces the standalone vs comprehensive app debate. Companies have to decide whether their apps should provide many functions but bury them in menus, or offer rapid access to one function.
Path recently released its more comprehensive 2.0 update, which has led to 30x growth of the app’s user base. Rather than force users to waste home screen space and choose what they want to do first, Path 2.0 simply integrates With’s functionality. In addition to tagging who you’re “with”, you can share your sleeping habits, music, and now standard content like photos and location.
Morin’s former employer Facebook is moving in the opposite direction. This summer it released its standalone Messenger app based off of its acquisition Beluga, and we hear it’s still working on its standalone mobile photos app that leaked in June. I see this as a slippery slope where instead of bloat you get a fractured experience.
I like comprehensive apps that let me bounce from once use case to another without having to exit to the homescreen, so I’m happy to see With go. Often times the functions split between apps are highly related, and saving one extra click through a menu doesn’t seem to warrant downloading and updating an extra app. The With wind down will also keep Path’s team focused on building a distinct experience from Facebook and Twitter where you share a lot but to only your closest friends.
Marketing is a challenging profession, one that requires us to be fully engaged and involved in the changes to our brand—and also in our industry. Marketers must stay up to speed on all new developments or they will quickly risk obsolescence.
That being said, plenty of marketers possess a few very scary traits that impact their brands and their effectiveness. Here are three deadly traits to avoid.
Narcissism—Let’s face it. Most of us aren’t “experts.” Most of us haven’t been published, aren’t keynote-caliber speakers, and haven’t made serious advances in our marketing niche. That doesn’t mean we aren’t good marketers; we certainly are. But lately it seems that most marketers are asserting themselves as experts—and this is a very slippery slope.
When the narcissism trait sneaks into your marketing team, you quickly lose the ability to work well with others, adapt to changes, and value outside feedback. Avoid this trait, stay humble, keep learning, and listen to the feedback of others!
Apathy—We’ve all seen it, and we all know how toxic it can be. A marketer cannot become apathetic. The drive we have as marketers to be constantly searching for innovative ideas and creative solutions is what keeps our brands performing. If you are becoming apathetic in your current role, it’s time to find another job!
Marketers need to actively seek inspiration and new ideas. That’s why you are reading the MarketingProfs blog after all, isn’t it? Also, marketers need to be sure they are constantly reflecting on the data and acting on facts, not assumptions.
Procrastination—Time management is an essential skill for marketers. With our to-do lists growing, putting tasks off is simply not an option. Setting SMART goals and developing a plan to achieve those goals can help keep your efforts on track, but beyond that, marketers need to be dedicated to the cause and eager to achieve in order to resist the urge to procrastinate.
After all, you know what they say about procrastination: It’s not good. (OK, that’s not really what they say, but I’ll keep it clean.)
So, fellow marketers, what other deadly traits should we be avoiding?