Monthly Archives: July 2011

Is Facebook Becoming MySpace?

Is Facebook becoming MySpace? The folks behind Google+ would sure like you to think that. But, it’s not really a good comparison. The fear is that by letting Internet developers develop their own applications, Facebook runs the risk of becoming aesthetically ugly, albeit, at the willing hands of the user wanting to use the application.

It is indeed true that Facebook has gotten a whole lot more cluttered lately. But, again, I think that’s the fault of our personal networks and not Facebook in general. For instance, if you view only “status updates” in your feed, it’s nearly clean. Not Twitter clean, but some sort of uniformity.

MySpace let each individual customize their own wall. And the problem there was that customizing was a programming challenge, not to mention that many people have no taste. But, the truth is that there’s nothing inherently clean about Google Plus – there simply haven’t been a bunch of apps designed for it yet.

The Evolution of Mobile – In Stats

We’re past the point where businesses need to understand that a mobile strategy is important for their continued growth. But every once in a while, it’s important to wrap your head around the numbers of this growing market. So, that’s what we’ll quickly cover today.

25% of the globe’s mobile phones are smartphones. 75% are SMS-enabled (can text).

But, this will blow you SEOs away. 50% of Web searches are done via mobile device, and within 5 years, the mobile Internet is expected to overtake the desktop Internet. And yet, 79% percent of major online businesses still do not have a site optimized for mobile browsing.

Apply with LinkedIn Button Allows for One-Click Applications

This is really clever.

LinkedIn has released an “Apply with LinkedIn” button that any employer can list on their job listings page. With a single click, interested individuals can submit their LinkedIn profile (edited as needed) to this prospective employer.

The downside I see behind this is that making it SO easy to apply is going to force your HR rep to wade through way more resumes than currently. On the huge plus side, your talent pool just got a whole lot bigger, full of LinkedIn candidates, who tend to be at the higher levels of professionalism.

I’m really impressed, and would be surprised if I don’t see this button start popping up everywhere.

Domino’s Pizza Times Square Project Brave or Misleading?

Domino’s has been pulling out all the stops lately. From completely updating their recipe after decades of the same admittedly bad pizza, they’ve been playing the boldest advertising game I’ve seen a pizza company pull out.

That trend continues with Domino’s latest Times Square stunt. Dominos Pizza has decided to run an electronic ticker on a 4,630 sq. ft. billboard in Times Square to display, in real-time, what consumers think of the brand. These comments will be filtered for bad language and appropriateness, but apparently, not for sentiment. The real question is, what does Domino’s find appropriate? After all, if they start filtering these social media comments to make themselves look better, do they make themselves look worse if it comes out?

But, I’ll be honest. I love the radically honest approach. But, we’re in Chicago. Anyone choosing Domin0’s here is completely out of their mind.

Microsoft’s Amy Winehouse Social Media Gaffe

Whenever an individual or business makes a terrible mistake using social media, we at Windy City Strategies want to make sure we call it out, in order to help us all avoid similar social media gaffes in the future.

Today’s lesson comes at the expense of Microsoft, who shortly after the tragic death of singer Amy Winehouse, tweeted, “Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking ‘Back to Black’ over at Zune…” with a link to their Zune music service. C’mon Microsoft.

You could have been more subtle than that. After all, her album sales increased 37 times after her death, jumping to the top of the charts. Apple simply posted an image of Winehouse on the front of their iTunes store with the caption, “Remembering Amy Winehouse.” Amazon posted a brief obituary and a link to her music.

All similar tactics. But, Microsoft’s just wasn’t subtle enough.

Google Hangouts Becomes GoogleRoulette

Despite massive press coverage, ChatRoulette never became the big social platform as originally promised. Largely for the same reasons that made it so cool in the first place. Anonymity. The idea of running into random people from all over the world was really cool. The problem was that many of these people were naked men looking to traumatize children.

Now, Google Hangouts, a new feature in the Google+ social platform allows you to hang out with your friends via video chat. This isn’t anonymous, because only your friends are able to see that you are ‘hanging out’ and available to chat.

But, what if you posted the URL to your hangout somewhere publicly. That’s what some third-party sites are offering, such as PlusRoulette and GPHangouts. So, this incorporates the anonymity of meeting strangers online with the fact that they’re not really anonymous. After all, they have a Google Plus account and can be reported if necessary.

When Will Google Plus Go Farmville?

Let’s be honest. We know Google Plus is going to go game-crazy eventually. After all, how can you look at the success of Farmville and other Zynga games, and not be completely envious of the freemium Facebook Credits model they’ve created.

Tricia Duryee from All Things D, claims that Google is getting very close to launching their game network, which you would have to think would be closely integrated with Google Plus, albeit hopefully in a much less annoying and wall-cluttering way. Google will claim 30% of the revenues from these games and game developers. Last year, Google acquired social gaming companies Slide and SocialDeck. So hopefully soon, we (and the 20 million users who have already signed up for Google Plus) will get to see what they have in store for us.

No More Third-Party Reviews for Google Places

Now that Google has almost a year under its belt with their local rating and reviews feature, they have removed third-party reviews from Google Places altogether. This was probably their plan all along. In order to popularize the service, the site needed to be helpful right away. So, it utilized reviews from Yelp.com and other sites – to much chagrin from these competitors.

But now, they apparently feel comfortable living off their own user’s reviews. They have also added a “write a review” button at the top of each Place page, in order to elicit user reviews. Those local business reviews will obviously be most relevant to the user’s friends, and as Google Plus keeps growing, these network suggestions are going to become even more prevalent.

What Else Can Likester Predict?

Likester became the spoiler system this season on American Idol. Somehow, Likester was able to predict, with amazing accuracy, who would be leaving the show each elimination night.

What was their secret? They simply based their prediction on the number of Facebook Likes each contest received after their weekly song. That’s it. And boy, was it accurate! In fact, some objected to the spoiler system Likester had created. While that was going on, Likester founder Kevin McCarthy was thinking about what else it could do.

Imagine judging the Republican primary debates this year based solely on how many new Facebook likes each candidate receives post-debate. Not only did the American Idol trial prove the technology as trustworthy, just think of how simple the system is.

Forget costly focus groups and field trials. Just sit back and let the “likes” come in.

Apple in Talks to Buy Hulu

These are just rumors. But, Apple may be considering a purchase of Hulu, the online video provider.

Now, as a Hulu Plus subscriber, I’m not really thrilled with this news. I love Apple. But, they’re a closed system. They like keeping their music files on their own proprietary devices. And I’m afraid that an Apple purchase of Hulu will force me to buy an Apple TV to watch it on my HDTV.

The acquisition price is a fun number to discuss amongst friends, though, after the company decided not to go through with a $2 billion initial public offering (IPO). It also appears that the company who buys Hulu will own two years of exclusivity to Hulu content, including Walt Disney, News Corp. and NBC programming.