Tag Archives: Social Network

Twitter (and all social networks) will never be the same thanks to PeopleBrowsr

For the past few weeks I’ve been using PeopleBrowsr. Very cool. It’s the most significant thing to happen to social networking since FriendFeed came on the scene a year ago.

It was launched on FriendFeed and look at the reaction. That tells me that this is going to see significant growth because it delivers features that people need from Twitter, like grouping and ability to augment contacts, that Twitter and other social networks have been unable to deliver.

Here’s CEO Jodee Rich demoing it to me, I highly recommend you try this if you are a social networking freak like me.

[kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/6118/280023&tbid=k_418&premium=true&height=500&width=425]

Social network advertising: not your father’s banner ad

When i visited the San Jose Mercury News yesterday, what did we talk about? Advertising and how newspapers were going to make it online.

Well, one trend we’re seeing big time is the move to social networks. Facebook alone has more than 100 million people on it. When you add MySpace, Microsoft’s new network, Hi5, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, Twitter, and others, these networks are seeing some sizeable traffic.

But how do they monetize? Well, Facebook has been seeing a bunch of ads lately.

Problem is banner ads just aren’t working well anymore. Most users ignore them and the smartest users use software that blocks them from being seen at all.

So, how do you overcome those problems? Make ads that people play with and want to talk to their friends about.

That’s what Kevin Barenblat’s firm, Context Optional, does. One of his Facebook apps is driving 60,000 users a day to the website that sponsored it.

In this two-part video we take a look at both the kinds of apps that Context Optional is building, but in the second part we look at the whole Facebook marketplace.

Part I, six-minute video.
Part II, 10-minute video.

Why Microsoft will buy Facebook and keep it closed

Cartoon about something important happening on Web

It no longer is about Data Portability or Social Graph Portability, if you will.

I’m hearing these rumors too that John Furrier (my ex-boss) is reporting. That Microsoft will buy Yahoo’s search and then buy Facebook for $15 to $20 billion. Add that to all the news that Microsoft is buying Yahoo’s search and that gets very interesting.

That just changed the whole argument of Facebook vs. Google to one of Microsoft vs. the Web.

Think about this just a second.

Let’s say Microsoft gets Yahoo’s search. That doesn’t look that brilliant. After all, we know Google is gaining share there and taking Yahoo’s best advertisers (and let’s just forget Microsoft’s efforts, which have been an utter failure so far).

But these two moves would change everything and totally explain why Facebook is working overtime to keep Google from importing anything. First, let’s look at what is at stake here:

Loic Le Meur did a little test with me a couple of weeks ago. He listed his Le Web conference on both Facebook and Upcoming.org. Here’s the Facebook listing. Here’s the Upcoming.org one.

The Facebook one can’t be seen if you don’t have a Facebook account. It’s NOT open to the public Web. Google’s spiders CAN NOT REACH IT.

He put both listings up at exactly the same time and did no invites, nothing. Just let people find these listings on their own.

The Facebook one is NOT available to the Web. It has 467 people who’ve accepted it. The Upcoming.org one IS available to Google and the Web. It has 101 people on it.

This is a fight for the Web. We all just crawled inside a box that locks Google out.

Don’t believe me?

Go to Google and do a search for “Le Web 08.”

Do you see a Facebook entry there? Nope. Google is locked out of the Web that soon will be owned by Microsoft. We will never get an open Web back if these two deals happen.

This has created HUGE value for Microsoft and has handed Steve Ballmer an Internet strategy which brings Microsoft from last place to first in less than a week.

Boom!

Now Microsoft/Yahoo search will have access to HUGE SWATHS of Internet info that Google will NOT have access to.

Data and social graph portability is dead on arrival.

Microsoft just bought itself a search strategy that sure looks like a winner to me.

If all this is true there is no way in hell that Facebook will open up now.

It’s Facebook and Microsoft vs. the open public Web.

Can the open public Web fight back? Yes. It’s called FriendFeed. Notice that FriendFeed replaces almost all of Facebook’s killer features with open ones that are open to Google’s search.

So, now, do you see why I’m so interested in FriendFeed? It’s our only hope to compete with Microsoft’s new “buy enough and keep it closed” search strategy.

Don’t think this matters? It sure does. Relevancy on Yahoo search will go through the roof when it has access to Facebook data and Google doesn’t. People will see that Yahoo has people search (something I’ve asked Google for for years) and Google doesn’t. That’ll turn the tide in advertising, and all that.

Brilliant move, if this all comes true.

I’ve SMS’d Mark Zuckerberg and asked him if he’s selling. I doubt he’ll answer. I hope he holds out for more than $20 billion. He just might get it.

UPDATE: Someone on Twitter (Soulhuntre) says that it doesn’t matter as long as HTTP keeps working. That’s just the point. Facebook BLOCKS HTTP if you aren’t logged into its system and it can remove you at a moment’s notice. @irinaslutsky (former employee of mine) was removed last week from Facebook. This is a scary company and if it gets in the hands of Microsoft will create a scary monopoly.

UPDATE2: thanks to XKCD for the cartoon. I love those cartoons.

Tale of two businesses: exciting vs. boring

Yesterday I visited two businesses: one exciting, Sliderocket, and one boring, Bluepulse.

First, about Sliderocket, it’s a new presentation tool. Here is a video I shot with my cell phone yesterday with the CEO. I’ve been using it for my presentations and it’s a TON better than either Microsoft’s PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote for giving presentations. We filmed a demo yesterday that’ll be on FastCompany.tv in June. This thing is sexy, visual, and well integrated into Web services like Flickr and Salesforce. In other words, it’ll get lots of hype from tech blogging journalists like you read over on TechCrunch.

But the second, BluePulse? You probably haven’t heard of them, but they have customers in 198 countries, have hundreds of millions of messages flying around their social network (which is only for users who have mobile phones) and have been grabbing up Silicon Valley’s top talent — they just got Christopher Nguyen who was director of engineering at Google. You can see part of that team in the video I filmed yesterday.

In a future interview that’ll be up on FastCompany.tv in a few weeks where we met former Google executive (this is the same office where YouTube started, by the way).

So, which one is more likely to succeed?

I have to bet on Bluepulse. Here’s why:

1. Market. The cell phone market is growing much faster than the market for PCs or Macs.
2. Competition. Bluepulse wins here big time. Why? Well, let’s assume you’re a kid in India and you get a new cell phone. Do you know of a social network for that cell phone? No. So, BluePulse isn’t having to convince you not to use an entrenched competitor. But look at Sliderocket. If that same kid gets a new laptop he’s probably heard of Microsoft Office and his friends probably use PowerPoint and so, now you’ll have to convince him that Sliderocket, something he hasn’t heard of, is better. That’s a LOT tougher of a job than Bluepulse has ahead of it.
3. Monetization. Bluepulse is building up HUGE engaged audiences that it knows a LOT about. Think about the things that a social network learns about you. Heck, start with just your location. This is stuff that advertisers will pay big bucks for. Someone using a presentation tool? You’ve gotta charge them cause advertising won’t fly in that business model. That’s a LOT tougher of a business to build.
4. Usecases. One thing is going to be working against Sliderocket for at least a few months: Powerpoint works offline. Now, Sliderocket has an interesting answer there (they are building an offline client with Adobe’s AIR technology) but that isn’t finished yet, so when Sliderocket comes out in July you won’t be able to develop presentations in a plane (you will be able to play them, but the real offline client will come later).

So, add all these things up and you’ll see that the more boring Bluepulse is far more likely to build a world-class business that we all talk about than Sliderocket does.

That all said, Sliderocket is one hell of a great product and I can’t wait to show you that sexy demo.

What do you think? Which business would you rather own?