Facebook and Twitter: “are NOT most INNOVATIVE companies” & Top 10 Most INNOVATIVE // @FastCompany


THE SHORT ANSWER: NEITHER PRODUCED INNOVATIONS WORTH CELEBRATING. THE LONGER ONE? READ ON.

The simplest reason Facebook andTwitter are not on this year’s Most Innovative Companies list: Neither produced innovations worth celebrating. A spot on MIC, as we call it, is not a tenured position. Every year, we assess innovation and the impact of those initiatives. In the history of our list, fewer than one-third of the companies return from one year to the next. This year, only seven are consecutive honorees, an indication of how more companies in more corners of the world are innovating to seek a competitive edge, with the stakes only getting higher.

BY: DAVID LIDSKY | fastcompany.com


Illustration by Adam Simpson


Facebook and Twitter deserve special comment because they have been among the rare perennials, and their recent moves reveal two companies engaging in innovation’s evil twin: short-term thinking at the expense of long-term value. Facebook’s most notable product achievement in 2012 was Poke, a facsimile of Snapchat, the trendy-with-teens (and sexters) photo app. Poke stumbled almost immediately. In fact, Facebook has made a cottage industry out of chasing hot Internet services (Pinterest and Yelp included), instead of developing new ideas to delight its billion users. Similarly, Twitter’s product strategy feels wholly defensive. Its most notable new feature is photo filters, a plainly unoriginal addition.

Both companies have turned their focus away from users and toward shareholders to get bigger, not better. Revenue is great, but not at the expense of the product. Twitter’s focus on improving ad revenue requires a consistent experience across the web, smartphones, and tablets, so it forced its once-elegant mobile apps to conform to a clunky desktop look, because that model works best for advertisers. That’s the exact opposite of how product development is supposed to go.

Facebook, facing the strain of a tumbling stock price last summer, has transformed the implicit understanding of the site–my posts will be seen by those who want to see them–into an advertising opportunity. It freely admits that only a small percentage of posts make it to friends and fans, but it can fix that if you buy ads. To compound matters, Facebook’s aggressive mucking with its privacy policies has bred a deep distrust of how the company uses the content shared on Facebook (and Instagram) among a significant, vocal segment of its users.

Neither service is a lost cause. Yet. But both would be well served to revisit what made them special in the first place: engaging with peers, not merely consuming content from brands and celebrities; being a creative platform for developers; and championing social media where users, not advertisers, call the shots.

THE WORLD’S TOP 10 MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES IN STYLE

Leer más “Facebook and Twitter: “are NOT most INNOVATIVE companies” & Top 10 Most INNOVATIVE // @FastCompany”

New ‘Tello’ Feature Lets Consumers Talk Back to Businesses

And now Tello is launching a new feature called Business Replies that’s designed to turn its bottom-line ratings into a conversation between customers and companies.

If a company has signed up for Business Replies, Tello will let it see the comments that consumers have posted, plus analytical data about the responses. It can respond to consumers individually, either to resolve problems or just acknowledge that it’s listening.

Tello is offering a basic business account that lets a company receive replies for up to three locations, and doesn’t let it respond. But the ad-free service sees this new feature as a revenue generator: For $99 a month, larger retail businesses can cover more locations and send responses.

Tello doesn’t have any news at the moment about which companies it’s working with, but founder Joe Beninato told me that it hopes to sign up some major national chains in the months to come, and envisions them putting up signage encouraging customers to use Tello as a feedback forum.


Tello

Tello is an iPhone app and Android-friendly mobile site that lets consumers rate the local businesses they deal with. Sounds like Yelp? Not really. For one thing, Tello encourages brevity, not rambling reviews: You give a thumbs up or a thumbs down, plus a brief comment. For another, it lets you rate individual employees at a business, letting you alert folks about staffers who are uncommonly good or unacceptably bad.

And now Tello is launching a new feature called Business Replies that’s designed to turn its bottom-line ratings into a conversation between customers and companies.

If a company has signed up for Business Replies, Tello will let it see the comments that consumers have posted, plus analytical data about the responses. It can respond to consumers individually, either to resolve problems or just acknowledge that it’s listening.

Tello is offering a basic business account that lets a company receive replies for up to three locations, and doesn’t let it respond. But the ad-free service sees this new feature as a revenue generator: For $99 a month, larger retail businesses can cover more locations and send responses.

Tello doesn’t have any news at the moment about which companies it’s working with, but founder Joe Beninato told me that it hopes to sign up some major national chains in the months to come, and envisions them putting up signage encouraging customers to use Tello as a feedback forum. Leer más “New ‘Tello’ Feature Lets Consumers Talk Back to Businesses”

5 Steps to Fix a Bad Yelp Review

Review sites like Yelp can offer a helpful service to the general public and give small local businesses a chance to gain word-of-mouth momentum no ad money can buy. But this open platform also means any grumpy customer can slam your business, affecting your reputation and, ultimately, sales. The good news is you are not powerless. Not only can you can make customer service lemons into lemonade by proactively mining your Yelp profile to address customer service issues before they break your business, but your active care and concern will gain you more social cred. So, if you’ve had a cranky customer slam you on Yelp, follow these 5 steps to get them back on your side — and maybe even add a few stars…


by Jennifer Rose | http://www.flowtown.com

YELP

Review sites like Yelp can offer a helpful service to the general public and give small local businesses a chance to gain word-of-mouth momentum no ad money can buy. But this open platform also means any grumpy customer can slam your business, affecting your reputation and, ultimately, sales. The good news is you are not powerless. Not only can you can make customer service lemons into lemonade by proactively mining your Yelp profile to address customer service issues before they break your business, but your active care and concern will gain you more social cred. So, if you’ve had a cranky customer slam you on Yelp, follow these 5 steps to get them back on your side — and maybe even add a few stars… Leer más “5 Steps to Fix a Bad Yelp Review”

Foursquare Launches “Personalized Search For The Real World”

Foursquare is introducing what it calls “personalized search for the real world” on its recently redesigned website. What that means as a practical matter is the introduction of the “Explore” feature, better keyword search and several new filters that enable users to drill down in search results. We can now, without hesitation, now call Foursquare a “local search engine.”

You’ll now see an Explore button or tab in the upper right on the website. It’s obviously been on the mobile app for some time but not on the site until today. Because I was so used to seeing Explore on the mobile client I didn’t remember it wasn’t previously available on the website until Foursquare pointed that fact out.


http://searchengineland.com/foursquare-launches-personalized-search-for-the-real-world-107500
by

Foursquare is introducing what it calls “personalized search for the real world” on its recently redesigned website. What that means as a practical matter is the introduction of the “Explore” feature, better keyword search and several new filters that enable users to drill down in search results. We can now, without hesitation, now call Foursquare a “local search engine.”

You’ll now see an Explore button or tab in the upper right on the website. It’s obviously been on the mobile app for some time but not on the site until today. Because I was so used to seeing Explore on the mobile client I didn’t remember it wasn’t previously available on the website until Foursquare pointed that fact out.

Leer más “Foursquare Launches “Personalized Search For The Real World””

Elements of a Facebook Page for Your Design Business

One of the most popular things in today’s world is a social networking website called Facebook. Anyone and everyone is on Facebook these days and not having an account on Facebook is known to be a very strange thing. Facebook is not only a great website for interacting with your loved ones; it is also a great platform to promote your business. Anyone who has a business or is working as a freelancer knows that they have to be on Facebook in order to be able to reach to their target audience.

You need to be aware of the importance of establishing a successful business page on Facebook so that you are able to advertise your business. Always keep in mind that you have to be active on the Facebook and only presence won’t help. You will have to really work hard on designing your Facebook page for your design business.

If you are a freelancer or a professional graphic designer and your design job is to make promotional materials like brochures, business cards, flyers or post cards etc. , a Facebook business page can help you a lot in not only promoting your business but also in finding new clients. Before you start working n your business page, you need to understand the essential elements that your Facebook page should have. When you visit different pages, they might look very simple and easy to make. This is not the case. There are a lot of elements that one should keep in mind while designing a Facebook page for his or her business page. Allow your Facebook fans to view work samples such as layouts for postcards and other marketing pieces you have designed.


By Arfa Mirza
http://www.dzinepress.com/2010/12/elements-of-a-facebook-page-for-your-design-business/



One of the most popular things in today’s world is a social networking website called Facebook. Anyone and everyone is on Facebook these days and not having an account on Facebook is known to be a very strange thing. Facebook is not only a great website for interacting with your loved ones; it is also a great platform to promote your business. Anyone who has a business or is working as a freelancer knows that they have to be on Facebook in order to be able to reach to their target audience.

You need to be aware of the importance of establishing a successful business page on Facebook so that you are able to advertise your business. Always keep in mind that you have to be active on the Facebook and only presence won’t help. You will have to really work hard on designing your Facebook page for your design business.

If you are a freelancer or a professional graphic designer and your design job is to make promotional materials like brochures, business cards, flyers or post cards etc. , a Facebook business page can help you a lot in not only promoting your business but also in finding new clients. Before you start working n your business page, you need to understand the essential elements that your Facebook page should have. When you visit different pages, they might look very simple and easy to make. This is not the case. There are a lot of elements that one should keep in mind while designing a Facebook page for his or her business page. Allow your Facebook fans to view work samples such as layouts for postcards and other marketing pieces you have designed. Leer más “Elements of a Facebook Page for Your Design Business”

Google launches Hotpot for social place recommendations

You can also add friends on Hotpot (again, via their Google Profiles). Adding friends is easy, as Hotpot can find friends through your Gmail address book. Once you’ve added friends, their ratings will get a little extra weight in recommending places for you.

As for the site itself, Hotpot has a pretty slick grid-based UI, with each place in a box featuring a photo and a star rating. Up top, you’ve got counters tallying your ratings and reviews. You can quickly access your history, your previously rated places, or your friends’ recent ratings from a sidebar. The whole thing is quite user-friendly, and oriented toward browsing versus searching, which makes it ideal for finding somewhere to go out to dinner.


by Jay Hathaway
http://www.downloadsquad.com/2010/11/16/google-launches-hotpot-for-social-place-recommendations/

Google Hotpot is new a social place recommendation engine built on Google’s existing Place pages. Up until now, Places have been rated and reviewed based on outside sources like Yelp, but Hotpot lets users rate local establishments using their Google Profiles. After you’ve entered a few ratings, Hotpot will use your tastes to recommend other places you might like, sort of like a Netflix for restaurants. Leer más “Google launches Hotpot for social place recommendations”

See What’s Hot Nearby on Facebook Places, Twitter and Yelp

Facebook Places is still virgin territory for most users, let alone developers and businesses. So how do you get the most out of a service that few people have really figured out how to use?

Geo-social aggregator Hotlist thinks that by combining data from Facebook Places, Twitter, Google Maps and Yelp, users can actually get a lot more value out of their checkins. Its app shows the popularity of nearby events and venues, whether or not your friends are there, the male-female ratio at a given spot, and recent Yelp reviews and Twitter posts for any location you might want to hit up.

It’s one of the first Facebook Places API integrations we’ve seen, and it’s doing a pretty thorough job of combining a ton of unstructured (from the user’s perspective) data into truly useful tidbits of actionable information.

For an on-the-go-oriented application, it helps to have a strong suite of mobile apps. While we’re still waiting for an Android app or a BlackBerry mobile offering, Hotlist does have an iPhone app [iTunes link] available for download now.


Jolie O’Dell

Facebook Places is still virgin territory for most users, let alone developers and businesses. So how do you get the most out of a service that few people have really figured out how to use?

Geo-social aggregator Hotlist thinks that by combining data from Facebook Places, Twitter, Google Maps and Yelp, users can actually get a lot more value out of their checkins. Its app shows the popularity of nearby events and venues, whether or not your friends are there, the male-female ratio at a given spot, and recent Yelp reviews and Twitter posts for any location you might want to hit up.

It’s one of the first Facebook Places API integrations we’ve seen, and it’s doing a pretty thorough job of combining a ton of unstructured (from the user’s perspective) data into truly useful tidbits of actionable information.

For an on-the-go-oriented application, it helps to have a strong suite of mobile apps. While we’re still waiting for an Android app or a BlackBerry mobile offering, Hotlist does have an iPhone app [iTunes link] available for download now. Leer más “See What’s Hot Nearby on Facebook Places, Twitter and Yelp”

Foursquare, I Can’t Quit You

Hey, Foursquare, a social network with about 250 times as many users as yours just incorporated your core functionality and even co-opted the term “check-in” that you’ve been trying to trademark. Is it time to move on?

Not so fast. Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley tweeted a few days ago, “Call from my 86 yr old grandma: ‘Hello. I want to know if this Face-Book is like yours. It sounds like Four-Squared, but without the fun.'” Grandma Crowley, apocryphal as she may be, speaks the truth. Foursquare is still more fun, and probably always will be compared to Facebook Places. That means a lot, for now.

When Facebook Places launched, I first checked in at my agency 360i’s office and then tried it from a number of other locations in subsequent days. Most of the time, I also used a number of other location-based apps such as Foursquare, Whrrl, Gowalla, Yelp, SCVNGR, and FoodSpotting. Even if I tire of some apps over time, I’m not giving up any solely because Facebook Places is here. Here are five reasons why:

1) It’s not easy to tell on Facebook Places who’s near you. Foursquare now includes maps to plot your friends’ whereabouts, and in general it’s better at detecting who’s really nearby. Facebook’s algorithm currently places too much emphasis on how closely connected it thinks your friends are to you, but if a close friend I’ve known for half my life checks into somewhere in Iowa, that won’t matter to me when I’m in New York.

2) Foursquare’s tips are pretty useful. Yes, there’s a lot of blather, but when I checked in at the White Plains, N.Y. train station on Friday and saw all the tips urging people to avoid the men’s room, I don’t care if I have the Seinfeldian syndrome known as uromysitisis — I’m finding a different place to go. Whrrl is even more focused on recommendations, and FoodSpotting has directed me to some delectable dishes. Facebook will need great content.


IMG_0097 Here’s today’s column, originally published in MediaPost’s Social Media Insider

Hey, Foursquare, a social network with about 250 times as many users as yours just incorporated your core functionality and even co-opted the term “check-in” that you’ve been trying to trademark. Is it time to move on?

Not so fast. Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley tweeted a few days ago, “Call from my 86 yr old grandma: ‘Hello. I want to know if this Face-Book is like yours. It sounds like Four-Squared, but without the fun.'” Grandma Crowley, apocryphal as she may be, speaks the truth. Foursquare is still more fun, and probably always will be compared to Facebook Places. That means a lot, for now.

When Facebook Places launched, I first checked in at my agency 360i’s office and then tried it from a number of other locations in subsequent days. Most of the time, I also used a number of other location-based apps such as Foursquare, Whrrl, Gowalla, Yelp, SCVNGR, and FoodSpotting. Even if I tire of some apps over time, I’m not giving up any solely because Facebook Places is here. Here are five reasons why:

1) It’s not easy to tell on Facebook Places who’s near you. Foursquare now includes maps to plot your friends’ whereabouts, and in general it’s better at detecting who’s really nearby. Facebook’s algorithm currently places too much emphasis on how closely connected it thinks your friends are to you, but if a close friend I’ve known for half my life checks into somewhere in Iowa, that won’t matter to me when I’m in New York.

2) Foursquare’s tips are pretty useful. Yes, there’s a lot of blather, but when I checked in at the White Plains, N.Y. train station on Friday and saw all the tips urging people to avoid the men’s room, I don’t care if I have the Seinfeldian syndrome known as uromysitisis — I’m finding a different place to go. Whrrl is even more focused on recommendations, and FoodSpotting has directed me to some delectable dishes. Facebook will need great content. Leer más “Foursquare, I Can’t Quit You”

Facebook’s Former Privacy Chief Criticizes ‘Instant Personalization’

by Wendy Davis
Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, now running for California Attorney General, wants voters to know he’s no fan of the company’s new “instant personalization.”

That much-criticized feature automatically shares users’ names, photos, friend lists and other information if they visit the sites of outside companies while logged in to Facebook. At launch the companies in the program were Microsoft Docs, Pandora and Yelp. [Más…]

Users can opt out, but privacy advocates as well as lawmakers like Sen. Chuck Schumer have said that Facebook shouldn’t share people’s information with unrelated companies unless users explicitly consent.


Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

by Wendy Davis
Facebook‘s Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, now running for California Attorney General, wants voters to know he’s no fan of the company’s new “instant personalization.”

That much-criticized feature automatically shares users’ names, photos, friend lists and other information if they visit the sites of outside companies while logged in to Facebook. At launch the companies in the program were Microsoft Docs, Pandora and Yelp. Leer más “Facebook’s Former Privacy Chief Criticizes ‘Instant Personalization’”

Simple Strategies for Engaging Your Visitors

Keep it Simple

Minimize the bells and whistles. I hate going to diners. Somehow they find a way to include every possible dish from grilled cheese to pot stickers. It takes me forever to make a decision and I usually end up wondering if I made the right one.

I prefer Five Guys – burger, fries, drink, done. Content and feature overload are the downfall of many promising websites. It can be hard to stick to one key message and call to action, but it is a much better alternative than overwhelming your visitors with a hundred different options and losing their attention due to option overload. Think Twitter , or the web apps from 37 Signals .


Strategies for Engaging Your Visitors

Engaging your visitors (audience, community, users, members, customers, or whichever term you prefer) should be your top priority. Plain and simple. Engagement is all about maximizing the value of your audience – increasing the frequency they return to the site, the tendency to tell their friends and the probability of them making a purchase.

In other words, you need to be creating value for as many visitors as possible. Leer más “Simple Strategies for Engaging Your Visitors”

Facebook Finding More Ways to Compete with Google

Google has its fair share of competition from a variety of angles. Apple is getting a great deal of the attention in this regard (making two big moves yesterday), but Facebook is up there as well. Facebook is already a key competitor in terms of where people spend their time online. Facebook expanding its presence all over the web only increases that, and will likely play a big role in the diversification of how people obtain information – in other words, maybe a little less Googling. Some of us have even speculated on the possibility that Facebook could one day create it’s own AdSense-like network.


Google Analytics: SML Pro Blog Traffic Sources...
Image by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML via Flickr

How Big is This Facebook Thing Going to Get?
By Chris Crum

Apparently Facebook is not content with only taking over the web, but wants to get some penetration into the physical world as well. Taking a cue from another dominant company, Google, Facebook is now giving brick and mortar businesses decals to put in their windows. While Facebook tells WebProNews the decals are currently only a test with a small number of businesses, I would expect this to be expanded in the future.


Is Facebook a worthy competitor to Google?

Increasing Competition with GoogleLeer más “Facebook Finding More Ways to Compete with Google”

Facebook Is Doing What?!

“The power of the open graph is that it helps to create a smarter, personalized web that gets better with every action taken.”


Author Lindsay
This week at the F8 Developer Conference, Facebook publicly confirmed its plans for world domination.
pinkyandthebrain_FB

Amidst more mundane semantic announcements, such as doing away with becoming a “fan” of a brand and replacing it with “liking” brands, Facebook dropped a bomb shell on the internet unveiling a web experience catered around your likes.

Hello Open Graph

Facebook’s latest innovation is the Open Graph platform.  Like Facebook Connect on steroids, Open Graph will transform the anonymous web into a deeply personalized experience. The service will allow publishers to share information about users in order to serve bespoke features, promos, and functionality to the tune of their individual interests regardless of whether or not they’ve visited the site before. As Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg puts it:

“The power of the open graph is that it helps to create a smarter, personalized web that gets better with every action taken.”

Say I visit The New York Times, I will immediately be served content specifically tailored to my interests; maybe a call-out to a photographer’s autobiography on the Nonfiction Best Sellers List, the latest breaking headlines about the tech industry, and a gallery of the new Free People line featured in the Fashion & Style Section (Whoa, how do they know about my shopping addiction too!?).

Taking it a step further, Open Graph will make our web browsing experience more social too – bringing insight from my social graph. On review sites like Yelp, I’ll see results from friends rather than strangers.

CNN, Pandora, and Mashable are already actively participating and a few bloggers point out their mixed opinions here and here.

A little too creepy for you? Let’s hope Facebook lays out some clear opt out options. As Mashable’s Christian Warren puts it, “Privacy will become the user’s responsibility.”

The Advertiser’s Jackpot?

Search behavior and click-through stats are valuable, but what Facebook is sitting on is the jackpot – access to purchase behavior, relationships, likes, comments, updates and sharing  (via micro-interactions), and soon enough, location. Brands and advertisers that understand and adopt the next generation of behavioral targeting will be able to seamlessly integrate into the lives of consumers like never before. It’s like a representative from Fiji Water handing me an ice cold water bottle after I just walked in from a grueling bike ride without even having to search or think. Now that’s precise!

In other announcements:

  • Say good bye to Facebook Connect! With the adoption of Open Graph, the identifiable Facebook Connect API will be of no need. For nearly two years, Facebook Connect has been the way to share your social graph with third-party websites.
  • Announcing Face… Docs !? And if all that wasn’t bad enough news for Google this week, Facebook and Microsoft have partnered to launch Docs.com, essentially a WebSuite of the beloved Office Suite.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Springwise | New business ideas from around the world


The music industry has long been putting fans to work for help with promotions and sales, and now it looks like Domino’s Pizza is getting in on the action as well. A new widget launched last month lets consumers serve as affiliate marketers for the brand through their social networking pages and blogs.

Domino’s UK is apparently the first brand to test the new widget, which comes from UK agency BLM Quantum, part of Arena BLM. All consumers need do is install the widget on their website, blog or social networking page, start promoting Domino’s on their personal web space, and then wait for the cash to roll in. The widget tracks all orders placed through their site and rewards consumers with 0.5 percent of every purchase.

All the marketing experts in the world can’t hold a candle to the persuasive power socially connected consumers have over each other; the key is harnessing that power and putting it to work for your brand—with rewards, of course, for the consumers in question. Who will be the first brand in *your* industry to leverage the virtually limitless marketing muscle of sellsumers?

Website: www.dominos.co.uk
Contact: www.dominos.co.uk/about/contactus.aspx

Spotted by: MarketingWeek via Rick Edgars

It’s been only a few weeks since we covered French WTFjeans, but we couldn’t resist mentioning another gadget-friendly clothing accessory we recently came across. For those not willing to stuff their jeans with electronics—however well-suited those jeans might be—the Bandee is a multifunctional sash designed to hold mobile phones, iPods and all sorts of other gadgets that otherwise fill up pockets or get lost in handbags.

The award-winning Bandee is a “multifunctional transport solution for the little things of everyday life,” as its Berlin-based creator puts it. Cellphones, music players, wallets, ID, keys, lipstick and a virtually infinite variety of other small items fit nicely in its many pockets, relieving the wearer of the need to carry a heavy bag or load the pockets of one’s clothes. Compartments are configured to ensure that nothing falls out—even on the most challenging half-pipe, say—and a variety of designs are available. Pricing ranges from EUR 29.95 for solid-coloured Bandees to EUR 39.95 for multicolour designs.

Currently selling through its online shop as well as through retail outlets in Portugal, the Netherlands, South Korea, Poland and Turkey, Bandee is now seeking distributors in other countries. One to bring to the gadget-dependent masses in your part of the world…?

Website: www.bandee.de
Contact: info@bandee.eu

We’ve seen numerous social networks for travellers in recent years, including KLM’s location-specific Club China and Club Africa for connecting people who do business in those parts of the world. Taking a slightly different tack is British Airways’ Metrotwin, which focuses on comparing and contrasting city “twins” instead.

New York and London are the cities paired on the main Metrotwin site, which provides recommendations for the best neighbourhoods, businesses, attractions and places to visit on both sides of the pond. Rather than connecting travellers, it strives to be more of a social utility for time-starved, novelty-seeking urbanites living in or travelling between the two cities. Same goes for Metrotwin Mumbai, a like-minded arm of the effort that pairs London and Mumbai instead. The site explains: “Do you know where to find the Breach Candy of London? What about the Tate Modern of Mumbai? Metrotwin makes these cross-references useful by asking people like you to suggest Mumbai and London ‘twins’ for neighbourhoods, businesses, attractions, places and people.” Rather than reviewing any and every cafe in those cities, then, it focuses on comparable “best of” destinations, drawing from local online communities and bloggers—who, incidentally, get rewarded for their content with British Airways miles.

Now in beta, Metrotwin puts an interesting spin on travel review sites by focusing on equivalent attractions in very different cities. That’s how people often learn about new things, after all—by comparing them with what they already know—so the approach makes intuitive sense. One to emulate for travellers in your part of the world, or to apply to a different product category?

Website: www.mumbai.metrotwin.com
Contact: support@metrotwin.com

Spotted by: Louisa Redshaw

Image credits: Deepa and obo-bobolina


UK law requires that children under the age of 12 travel with a booster seat to help avoid serious injury in the event of a collision, and similar laws apply in countries around the world. Normally made of hard plastic, these seats are bulky and difficult to transport, so many children go without proper safety provision when travelling in other people’s cars, rental cars and taxis. Enter BubbleBum, an inflatable, safety-approved car booster seat, providing a lightweight, portable alternative to its cumbersome counterparts.

Launched in December 2009 and claimed to be a world’s first, the patent-pending BubbleBum booster seats fold flat when deflated, making them easy to carry in rucksacks or handbags and convenient to take on holidays, school trips or car pooling. The BubbleBum booster seat is priced at GBP 24.99 and can be purchased through the company’s website.

BubbleBum is currently negotiating distribution deals with several large retailers in the UK, Ireland and North America, as well as a travel company. Given the increasingly mobile lifestyles of parents, the demand for travel-friendly child safety solutions is surely on the rise. Get on board now and strap in for a rewarding ride! (Related: For parents on the go, folding high-chair made of cardboard.)

Website: www.bubblebum.co.uk
Contact: info@bubblebum.co.uk

Spotted by: Mark Nagurski

Much the way Supercool School allows anyone to create and monetize an online school, so Estonia-based Traindom focuses on helping information entrepreneurs market their expertise.

No programming or design skills are required to create an education-focused business with Traindom; rather, the site gives users everything they need, including an easy-to-use product creation interface, client management tools, payment systems and more. Content can be conveyed through text, images, audio or video, and support is available both from the company and through a community forum. Traindom users don’t pay until they win 10 sales, and there are no contracts, setup or termination fees. Pricing ranges from nothing for a free account supporting up to 10 clients with 500 megabytes of video storage to USD 99 per month for unlimited clients and 10 gigabytes of storage.

Picking up where general sites like Instructables leave off, Traindom could provide just the platform for minipreneurs with niche expertise. One to try out on the target market that matters to you?

Website: www.traindom.com
Contact: info@traindom.com

Spotted by: John Greene

University of the People—which we covered last week—may be tuition-free, but plenty of other schools around the globe are profitable. Just launched earlier this year, Supercool School is an education platform that lets anyone create and monetize an online school of their very own.

For USD 15 per month, users of San Francisco-based Supercool School can create real-time classes and make them available to an unlimited number of students from all around the world. The white-label platform offers streaming audio and video as well as the ability to share documents and presentations over the web. Every live class is recorded and stored, enabling thousands of students to view them afterwards. School creators can offer their classes for free or charge for them as part of a global education business that’s customizable, brandable and scalable. Professional accounts with unlimited access to Supercool School are now in invitation-only beta; in the meantime, a free version of the platform can be used to offer up to 15 classes per month.

More than 45,000 companies and 300,000 entrepreneurs post revenues of roughly $30 billion per year in the U.S. education and training services industry alone, says Supercool, which now enables more than 100 schools, 700 classes and 2,500 users. Time to start a little global education business of your own…? (Related: Peer-to-peer ‘(un)classes’ match interest with passion.)

Website: www.supercoolschool.com
Contact: contact@supercoolschool.com

Spotted by: John Greene

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

451 Heat » What would Facebook’s location-based feature mean for Fan Pages?


In keeping with the social networking theme of 2010, Facebook hinted the site soon will allow people to post locations in addition to status messages. In a blog post on Friday, Facebook’s deputy general counsel, provided only a couple details about how the places feature would work, but did confirm that the social networking site is developing features that use people’s locations.

If the location feature integrates Facebook Fan Pages it could have very interesting results for businesses on the social networking site. The feature could make Fan Pages for businesses (i.e. restaurants, salons, bars, etc.) more valuable in terms of generating awareness, driving more engagement and appearing more frequently in Google’s Place Pages or Yelp’s listings.

Tagging an update or post with a venue that has a Fan Page, may also allow a user to attach comments/reviews and photos to the venue’s Fan Page. Location-based posts will drive more traffic to Fan Pages and create more engagement between businesses and clients. If the feature is designed to include Fan Pages, I think we’ll see a huge increase in the amount of Fan Pages on the site.

It’s rumored that Facebook will make the official announcement regarding the location feature at the annual f8 conference on April 21st.

How do you think Facebook plans to integrate locations into status updates? How is Facebook going to make its location-based feature different? Tell us what you think Facebook should do!

http://451heat.com/2010/03/29/what-would-facebooks-location-based-feature-mean-for-fan-pages/

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Digital Gets Physical


Location-based applications point the way

– Brian Morrissey

adweek/photos/stylus/131352-MobileWorld.jpg

In the great Facebook fan rush of 2009, Skittles stood out. The Wrigley brand was able to accumulate a staggering 3.6 million connections. This gave the brand an opportunity to message this audience — but not much more.

Last month, it decided to get real. Skittles kicked off “Mob the Rainbow,” a social media campaign that turns loose its virtual friends on the real world in service of fun challenges. To start, over 45,000 Skittles fans created Valentine’s Day cards for an unsuspecting traffic enforcement officer in San Francisco. Skittles filmed the encounter and posted it on Facebook, bringing the effort full circle from digital to physical back to digital. It led to another boost in Facebook fans, with nearly 500,000 added in a month.

The Skittles campaign is part of a shift in digital away from users merely sitting in front of computer screens to using new digital tools to affect behavior in the physical world. The growing sophistication of smartphones is driving the creation of these location-based services, which promise to morph the Web from a solitary experience to a ubiquitous connector in the real world.

This evolution has major implications for brands, giving them the possibility of tracking the success of digital campaigns to the store level and changing how they market to consumers.

“Most of the products we market are tangible, real-world products,” said Daniel Stein, CEO of EVB, the Skittles agency behind “Mob the Rainbow.” “Within social media, there are a lot of brands just talking to themselves.”

One of the most promising areas for this type of engagement is mobile. Location-based services were all the rage at South by Southwest last week. The current darlings of the space, Foursquare and Gowalla, squared off with competing parties and efforts to win over the festival’s early-adopter crowds. Both offer similar platforms, allowing users to “check in” to places to alert their friends and also reap virtual rewards.

Foursquare and Gowalla have attracted brand attention. Gowalla has hooked up with The Travel Channel to let fans of Food Wars check in at locations related to the show to earn virtual stamps. Foursquare has a raft of deals, including most recently one with Starbucks that rewards customers for checking into its stores.

The companies are not alone. Google has weighed in to the space with Google Latitude, which lets users opt in to have their friends know their whereabouts based on information from GPS satellites and cell towers. Local city guide Yelp now has a check-in provision, and Twitter last week activated a feature for users that allows them to easily share their locations.

“Location is going to be an embedded part of every experience,” said Ryan Sarver, director of platform at Twitter, during a SXSW panel on the subject. “Every application is going to have some location aspect to it.”

The fly in the ointment of these services is the looming question of user privacy. As the current mood in Washington casts a skeptical eye on behavioral advertising, location-based service presents a host of thorny challenges. The main problem is that, unlike behavioral data online, location services obviously cannot be anonymous without compromising their effectiveness. (See also: “Policing the Online Ad Market”)

“That’s really sensitive data,” said Steve Lee, group product manager at Google. “Important things like location history are opt in.”

Assuming the privacy challenges can be overcome, there are any number of possibilities to marrying the real world with digital data. Augmented reality, which until now has mostly been used for experiences in front of Webcams, is making the leap to mobile phones and elsewhere. General Motors, for example, has begun testing a windshield that uses augmented reality to display directional information, like the location of a building or the edges of a road in poor weather conditions. Marketers will see many more possibilities open up as the technology improves, according to Matthew Szymczyk, CEO at Zugara, which has created an augmented reality shopping application to let people try on clothes virtually.

“Mobile is going to be the touch point,” he said. “What’s limiting it right now is batteries and processing power on the handset.”

Stickybits is another promising new venue that emerged at SXSW. People can affix a sticker to any object and virtually attach digital data, such as a video or a photo, to it. It works with an iPhone application that reads the code. People can also attach digital info to existing marks like bar codes. This opens up innumerable opportunities and perils for brands. Users are already using Stickybits, among other ways, to attach content to cans of Coca-Cola. Currently, if you scan a can you get a dozen pieces of content, ranging from a video of a man testifying to his love of Coke to another of a toddler ambling around a house. It’s conceivable every product could become a font of consumer- and brand-generated content.

According to Seth Goldstein, co-founder of Stickybits, “We’re able to provide almost X-ray vision on the relationships and conversations people are having around branded products.”

http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/digital/e3id96098b1ed5efecdfa8804b47d052fcd

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]