Archive | October, 2009

#ClipboardNuggets – Developing My Pitch for #SM (Social Media)

30 Oct

Today, whilst answering an FB-Mail about what I precisely do nowadays**…  an acquaintance stated:

“…do you do web pages and the like?

Beyond the Basics of Today...

My husband and I are starting a new biz… have a website under construction… its okay for now but [we] may decide to do something a little more fancy down the road, right now our cash is tied up in getting the store open…

just curious for future reference...”

So then I replied:

Sure, more than actually helping build sites (I can do some basic Flash for banners and the like) what I tell my customers nowadays is that the current Conventional Wisdom for driving traffic to one’s site, is to look at the Core Business Processes and the Goals of the organization, towards then creating a mix of Social Media ‘Personas’ that allow it to not only rise to the SEO rankings (Search Engine Optimization, I’m sure that has come up in the budget talks) but also to keep YOUR company in the eyes of the actual CUSTOMERS, which for SMB’s (Small-Medium Business) worldwide is now becoming more of a matter of keeping them not only informed, with the latest and greatest promotions, product news, events and the like, but also with the value of being yet another ‘content provider’ in THEIR social media home pages, one that usually brings a smile or two to their days (I’m sure you as the renowned Radio Personality that you are, can vouch for its value, correct?) and even, become the ‘hub’ for many of their ‘communal’ activities.

In other words, sites alone are no longer cutting the mustard, they need to be “garnished”, so to speak, with yummy sides of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, YouTube, StumbleUpon, Diggit, Reddit, Tweetmeme, Cinch, Meetup.Com, etc, etc…

Then you’ll see the value and the ROI (return on investment) of what you have already spent on the site, and much like many other local businesses that have successfully leveraged these sites, eventually find yourself focusing on them social media gateways as the actual places where the prospects are to be found.

How do we build most everything else? and why not Systems, too?

How do we build most everything else? and why not Systems, too?

I am looking forward then to discussing with you both any eventual plans to deploy a well-thought-out social media strategy for your business.

Sincerely,

Francisco

P.S: Check out this video on my blog, explains a lot about what I said above, visually… enjoy!”

https://kankuchito.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/socialnomics-prsa-miami-events-takeaways/

Still with me? Bottom line? Much like it was stated in yesterday’s K-Buzz Presentation, pretty soon we’ll find that SMB’s that are actually doing a LOT (specially once serious e-commerce/merchant apps are present on the FB platform) here in Facebook, may end up replacing their investments,  with ‘free’ time on the Homestream…

… which is why I’ve seriously approached my peers in the Web Design biz, and mentioned that they need to UPGRADE their Toolkits/Skillsets with these “garnish” – as to avoid being sucked into a vortex of obsolescence.

  • Think you’re ready for it now? need a hand, perhaps, making sense of it all?

** And why I do ask? now I realize that the INITIAL thread may shed additional light on WHY hiring someone to “draw the blueprints” of your BUSINESS SM strategy, may be a good INVESTMENT after all… ready?

Found YOUR starting point?

Found YOUR starting point?

(Acquaintance contacted me…)

“Hey Francisco…how’s it going???
A long time ago you advised me to do a fan page for us and told me how to do it, but I don’t remember….

is there a way to transfer a friend page to a fan page??? I am interested in doing so for my personal profile… and so is another friend for his own page…

… help if you can oh technical guru! :)”
So I promptly answered:
“Dear Friend

 

Sadly, that’s one of the BIGGEST hurdles posed by Facebook, and no, the reason why I told y’all from the get go, it’s because so far, at least in the little I know ’bout them, you have to start from SCRATCH.I’ve seen folks that then let their ‘friends’ know that they need to go over there, and in turn, they “connect” the Fan Page to the Personal Profile, thereby making all updates and content generation START there, and still be published on the Personal Profile.

 

Sole Caveat about this workaround? those who have then become fans will get the updates DUPLICATED (once for the Friend, and once for the Fan Page)

All of the above actually being the reason why I suggested it from the get-go, have seen many businessess NOT heed that warning, get to the 5k limit on the Personal Profile, and/or find some other hindrance, and end up having to manage (manually) both profiles, segregating friends, from fans, etc.

Hooked up on EDUCATION!

Hooked up on EDUCATION!

Serendipitiously there was a Webinar yesterday about it, and this topic came up, and no, there is no solution up to this minute…. does Facebook know? most likely… will they ever change it? dunno, maybe, everything’s kinda looking the same up to this moment (meaning, profiles, pages and groups are all following the same “Use Cases” and working very much alike)

Hope this helps… and good luck!

Francisco

P.S: BTW, were you aware that above is now my biz? I’m sure you have one or two peeps in your network that may be able to benefit from your letting them know that now I do this for a living, feel free to forward them my information, I’m covering the whole of Southern Florida (or anywhere anyone wants me to work remotely, too!)

Saludos!”

——END OF TRANSCRIPT——-
So? Get it now? it PAYS to PLAN ahead, here as well as ELSEWHERE!

[CHUCKLES HEARTILY!]
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@theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (#LiveTwitteringSession)

28 Oct
... FIRING AWAY!

... FIRING AWAY!

  1. (#HowToAvoidHashTagsFromCreating?UseParenthesesForMereTypographic’Effect’)(#ThingsIFoundOutWhilstLiveTwitteringToday) thinkin’ @GuyKawasaki12 minutes ago from web
  2. “CHECK OUT OUR FAVORITE PAGES at http://bit.ly/W68D9” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (#RoleModelsOfSMBsLeveragingFB)13 minutes ago from web
  3. {WE SEE A NICE POPULATED AD INSIGHTS PAGE] Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (#AnalyticsFinallyComeOfAge-WhereElse?)17 minutes ago from web
  4. “MAXIMIZE your AD expenses! MONITOR and convert VIA SOCIAL ACTIONS” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (#ListenAndLove)18 minutes ago from web
  5. “Now you are able to ‘NANO- and ‘HYPER – TARGET YOUR AUDIENCE!” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (#CreatingTheLingo!)19 minutes ago from web
  6. “MOST ADVANCED DEMOGRAPHIC AND KEYWORD-DRIVEN AD PLATFORM” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (#DeathOfOldMediaIndeed!)24 minutes ago from web
  7. “Michael Jackson (NOT POTUS!) has the MOST FANS in an #FB Page” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (Lost again! GRRRR!)24 minutes ago from web
  8. “WORRY LESS about developing APPLICATIONS and more about GOOD conversation” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (#Monetize!)25 minutes ago from web
  9. “FUN and ENGAGING” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (#FinallyICanMonetizeMySenseOfHumor #MissionInLife #ClassClownsUnite!27 minutes ago from web
  10. “GIVE fans REASONS to post on YOUR page!” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (#ListenANDLove) (FYI @WarrentWhitlock)28 minutes ago from web
  11. “USE UPDATES TO ELLICIT responses… use CREATIVE content” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (#FeelingVindicatedRightNow)29 minutes ago from web
  12. “Follow the DND Rule… DO NOT DELETE! RESPOND instead – except for VULGARITY ” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (Yeah)34 minutes ago from web
  13. “The BEAUTIFUL BOXES Tab… Make it DEFAULT!” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (Me? thought I was the only ONE saw it so)35 minutes ago from web
  14. “IF you’re REALLY engaging? ALLOW fans to POST to your WALL” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (Me? Why go #HERMIT-MODE?)37 minutes ago from web
  15. “A #FB Page will EVENTUALLY replace a business’s WEBSITE” Says @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (Me? COULD not agree more!)38 minutes ago from web
  16. “A #FB Public (Business) Profile now really acts as a MICRO-SITE for your biz” @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (Me? MACRO-!)39 minutes ago from web
  17. So POTUS was the answer to “The Living Person w/ Most Twitter Followers” @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u (FYI @KareAnderson)about 1 hour ago from web
  18. is it? living person? ASHTON KUTCHER? (via > @theKbuzz #kbuzz #TheFaceLift http://thk.bz/1u)about 1 hour ago from web
  19. @theKbuzz GOING ON RIGHT NOW! #Free #kbuzz #Webinar on #Facebook #Fan #Pages for #SmallBiz http://thk.bz/1u #TheFaceLiftabout 1 hour ago from web in reply to theKbuzz
  20. @TheKBuzzabout 1 hour ago from web

“Seen on a Wall Near You” Series… On The Meaning of “New Media” – or is it just “Media”

26 Oct

* @ TSJ

[STATES]

Love seeing someone else thinking, writing and working on what this old media/new media convergence is all about. Quicker than I think we all realize, it’s just going to be “media” and we’re going to drop the “new”.

* @ JL

[REPLIES TO]

T. I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, I would argue we reached that point long ago. Sadly, I secured this domain a couple of years ago LOL

* @ FJP

[REPLIES TO]

@ TSJ

Someone at a recent PRSA meeting stated exactly what you said here…

“Quicker than I think we all realize, it’s just going to be “media” and we’re going to drop the “new”.” (Jump, 2009)

Which is BOTH good and bad news, perhaps? as companies currently cutting back actually rehire people to “staff” these new-ly “figured out” posts?

Won’t be the first time that we realize that with all the expediency, all we did was create more work (read: complications!)

… apropos, there was a quote on Twitter about this… BRB…

@ FJP

[STATES FURTHER]

[GETS THAT ANNOYING ‘MOBY DICK’ ERROR MESSAGE]

Well… is this what will make Google Wave feasible, BTW?

[CHUCKLES] …

I’ll come back to it later, it was pretty apropos ‘expediency’; which we all know sometimes drives some pretty in-congruent business decisions, right?

* @ TSJ

[REPLIES TO]

@ FJP

Francisco, I think though that the most important take away for all “media types” is to be able to embrace the change. Look at Jim. He could be pigeonholed as a cameraman but he’s embracing and expanding his skill set – which will make him highly marketable as/when video is no longer is relegated to just tv screens.

It’s similar to what many newspaper journalist had to realize and had to adapt to the idea of now being bloggers…and videographers…and not just writers. Those who couldn’t adapt to the 24/7 news cycle got left in the dust, unfortunately.

Gotta Embrace it... or ELSE!

Gotta Embrace it... or ELSE!


Granted, the biggest bugaboo is how in beejesus are we going to monetize all this content that people now expect to get for free…but I’ll leave that to the finance guys. I’m just a PR Grrl these days. 🙂

And Twitter is being a pain today. I’ve gotten the Fail Whale more times that I care to mention.

* @ FJP

[REPLIES TO]

@ TSJ

This part? hits VERY close to home, actually!

“It’s similar to what many newspaper journalist had to realize and had to adapt to the idea of now being bloggers…and videographers…and not just writers. Those who couldn’t adapt to the 24/7 news cycle got left in the dust, unfortunately.” (Jump, 2009)

Sadly, what Luddites in any era NEVER appear to get, is that all that fear and distaste for the ‘new’ is actually just the aggregation of ALL their ‘old’ gripes… meaning, what is a software application but the embodiment of what many thought was WRONG with a process?… and in the lucky cases, an app not only embodies those ‘complaints’ about ‘what could be done’ but in many cases, it automatically/naturally forces the users to immediately think about NEWER and FASTER ways to do the processes in question, ONCE they’ve been automatized?

(yeah, it’s the IT guy in me doin’ the talking, I know)

Gotta learn what you gotta learn - and unlearn it, too!

Gotta learn what you gotta learn - and unlearn it, too!

Bottom line? in most EVERY area, said “embracing and expanding” of one’s skillset is not only necessary, but a requirement – for survival.

[THUMBS UP!]

Excellent points, keep ’em comin’!

* @ FJP

[REPLIES TO]

@ TSJ

… and yeah, about that ‘bugaboo’ about monetization? just take a peek at Hulu… personally? I am thinking of ways to hook up my 52″ screen to a decent computer, as what would be better than to have my HD properly managed within a Website?

… and we all thought that Flash was meant to build little banners and pretty skyscrapers…

[SNICKERS]

… so do they want to run an ad? be my guest, you ARE still fulfilling the same old promise of giving me ‘valuable’ content/entertainment… and more, as I’m now able to play with it, comment it, share it, and ‘regurgitate’ it, ad nauseam!

Final thought, though? I was involved with Ad Sales & Traffic Apps for a while, and fortunately I can say that the ‘current’ state of the industry has us pretty close to the point where said monetization WILL occur, as what was ‘missing’ were the tracking tools…

[GRINS]

Ad Sense, meet an Automation Player!

... Converging and converging, at a monitor near you!

... Converging and converging, at a monitor near you!

[SO LATER ON… THE THREAD CONTINUED!]

* @ TSJ

[REPLIES TO]

@FJP

You make some excellent observations…do you think Jim minds us co-opting his FB post? 🙂

“just take a peek at Hulu… personally? I am thinking of ways to hook up my 52″ screen to a decent computer, as what would be better than to have my HD properly managed within a Website?”

Absolutely! That’s the amazing convergence that is happening right before our eyes. A computer… is a tv…is a computer. I wonder who will “own the space” though? Will it be Apple? Will it be Google? My money isn’t on the big tv giants like NBC or ABC…I think they’ve missed the boat and the ship is sailing away without them.

It’s funny – this was what cable was supposed to have been 15 -20 years ago. But they never delivered on the promise. Leave it to the IT guys to figure it all out and make it happen! 🙂

The metrics part of monetization is very interesting. From a PR perspective, there are many parallels. I am now tweeting and FB-ing for my organization and initially, there was a sense that I was just goofing off. It’s hard to justify from a metrics perspective on “earned media hits” but PR people have to embrace the social media tools, too, because we’re watching our traditional methods of PR outreach erode.

The old method of pitching to a reporter or a traditional press release is starting to unravel as reporters are being let go. We still have a message and a pitch but we are using new tools to get it across – all online.

It’s niche and it’s hard to measure its effectiveness but again, you have to embrace it because, honestly, this is where the audience is these days! Twitter alone grew over 1000% between Jan and Feb of this year!

We are all in THIS together, indeed!

We are all in THIS together, indeed!

* @ JL

[REPLIES TO ALL]

I LOVE co-opting other folks FB posts! hehe now i do wish that this conversation took place on my blog. But this simply demonstrates that you can’t force people to have conversations where you are. You have to meet them where THEY are.

* @ JL

[REPLIES TO]

@ TSJ

And Tricia, by no means are you JUST a PR grrrl

* @ TSJ

[REPLIES TO]

@ JL

JL, I *heart* these conversations because they bring together such a wide audience of computer folks, media types, pr people, writers, journalists, filmmakers…we are are feeling the change, aren’t we?

Gotta luv em!

Gotta luv 'em!

(and next time this will be going on your blog!) 🙂

[SO OF COURSE… I HAD TO SHARE THIS WITH THEM BOTH!]

* @ FJP

@ TSJ

Echo, Echo… and now that we now we are ‘welcome’ here… well… comment on!

One?

“It’s hard to justify from a metrics perspective on “earned media hits” (Jump, 2009)

Personally, in the little time that I spent on TV, I ended up feeling that most everyone shared a ‘secret’ of mistrusting those Nielsen numbers; not to belittle them, but we three know that nowadays they are able to MINE these for keywords, and KNOW exactly who the people behind the message(s) are… so what’s to stop them from telling the sponsors that their message WAS somewhere, when they finally have some ‘harder’ metrics to rely on?

That the sponsors have wisened up and realized that they can run some of these ‘media’ operations on their own? no doubt about it… yet, as we become more and more refined on our ‘acquired taste’ of Social Media, well, we will see the proverbial return of those savvy professionals, now finally convinced that these are bona-fide channels, and well, that there’s such a thing as a ‘Professional Blogger…”

Two?

“We still have a message and a pitch but we are using new tools to get it across – all online.” (ibid)… Why do we love Google? it’s all about HARD data… anyone here ever used their “Ad Words” system… where a WORD is worth COLD HARD cash as it is measured SECOND BY SECOND and BID on by those who “want” it?…

… so when we compare a Nielsen box, whose process dates back to the days of Mad Men, and the Google “Algorithm” (which BTW, relies on hordes of people to work, trust me on that one too!) which one will the advertisers prefer?

Personally it’s more an issue of mindset versus unlearning; meaning, it does take a bit of pain to let go of the old metrics, we all made money with them, so to ‘unlearn’ the tried and true processes not only affects a point of view, but the systems that were built on those premises/paradigms… which is not only expensive, but SLOW in most cases…

That said, do we have a CHOICE?… don’t think so!

[GRINS!]

Finally, stay tuned for a tag to the two of you… I think I have a surprise for Jim to post!… BRB!

* …. So then I proceeded to get their input on whether or not to post… take a listen to their reaction!

* [@FJP 2 @JL]

Hiya Jim!… Whaddayathink?… and yeah, onlyYOU can see it (and TSJ, if she accepts my friend request)…

I have done a few of these on my blog before, taking out names and doing a bit of formatting… well, IMHO? if you read them HERE, why not READ (and monetize? disseminate? retweet?) them OVER THERE?

Feel free to “pluck” the text for your own use; or let me know, it’s on an Outlook Draft ready to be sent, I can forward it to you, etc, etc… … Leer más

Bottom line? I think we CAN repurpose these discussions… as you said, they ARE for REAL, aren’t they?

Saludos!

* [@JL 2 FP]

Francisco, I LOVE it! I think it’s terrific when spontaneous conversation happens 🙂

* [@FJP 2 JL]

Great!

Looking forward to the blog entry, then!

[THUMBS UP!]

* [@FJP 2 @TSJ]

@ TSJ

Whaddayathink? readable enough to go out and get us some hits?

(;OD)~

* [@TSJ 2 FJP]

Absolutely! We are blog-worthy!

[THUMBS UP!]

* [@FJP 2 JL]

Jim? You go first?

Want the text via e-mail? lemme know!

… so while I wait for Jim, I decided to post… as I have a couple more of these “Wall Near You” in the queue!… let’s see how they happen to come out!

[REMEMBERS WHERE THE WHOLE THING STARTED!]

… and yeah… last but NOT least… here’s the address to Jim Long’s Blog!… wait… actually, here’s the “catalyst” that got us talkin’!

* Re-launching my blog which has been gathering dust. Stop by and leave a comment! http://vergenewmedia.com

Toastmasters Speech One Icebreaker Francisco Palacio Rev2b

19 Oct

Stream Nuggets: “Reason” Blog (@ReasonApplied)

17 Oct

Found this GEM this morning, thought of archiving the source, addin’ the RSS feed to my blog, and yeah, sharin’ it within these confines…

[HATS OFF TO “Peter Holmes” AND YEAH… ON TWITTER? http://twitter.com/reasonapplied or @ReasonApplied]

“We think so and that’s what we’re doing. We team a strategic planner with a creative idea person and a technology person in what we call a cell. The cell is the key contact and collaborator with our clients. Integration is achieved at the point of planning and each person in the cell is free to collaborate with whoever they need to execute. This is the foundation of our structure and what we believe is a more relevant model for the 21st century. We also recognize that not many agencies can do this. Especially the large ones, organized as they are around silos.

For example, a former protégé of mine who is now working for a large, well known agency as a creative director, recently lost his art director partner. To replace him and to try something new he suggested to management that he be paired with the creative director of their digital silo. Everybody thought that would be a good idea, until it dawned on them that both are responsible for their own profit and loss, as well as the management of their respective silos and disciplines, making it impossible.

Large agencies are too heavily invested in the old way of doing things and find it difficult enough to experiment, let alone change. In fact, they’re addicted to building silos. As soon as a new discipline, or way of making money is identified, up goes a silo. [<<<SCATHING!]

The main problem with silos are the walls. Silos force everything through the lens of their own particular discipline. Insulated from the real world, the idea serves execution, rather than vice versa. And miraculously, all client problems can be solved by the thinking inside each particular silo alone.

Foggy Times?

Foggy Times?

Is this the best way to serve client needs and solve their problems efficiently, creatively and fast?

How can the product coming from this antiquated organizational structure be called integrated, when any sort of integration happens not at the point of planning, but instead is cobbled together sometime after the fact?

(Reason, 2009)

Source: http://ow.ly/uLGG

“For social networks, it’s game on” (USA Today on FarmVille)

17 Oct

By Jon Swartz, USA TODAY

SAN FRANCISCO — Life on FarmVille has had a transformative effect on Laura Phillips.

For 45 minutes a day, Phillips, a 41-year-old marketing contractor in the Silicon Valley town of Morgan Hill, Calif., gets lost in the digital game on Facebook, managing crops and animals on her virtual farm.

All those Farmers, now VALIDATED!

All those Farmers, now VALIDATED!

“This is my escape from city life; it’s my relaxation,” she says. “Since Day One, I’ve been a complete addict. I lose sleep at night, worrying about my farm.”

Phillips is one of more than 56 million monthly users of the game created by Zynga, a company that specializes in social games for platforms including Facebook, MySpace, iPhone and Bebo. FarmVille had just 354 users on June 20, the day after it launched. It’s widely believed to be the largest and fastest-growing social game ever.

FarmVille‘s addictive qualities tend to sneak up on the casual interloper. Then again, so has its entire genre: Games are the killer app on social networks. Tens of millions of consumers are opting to play simple, quick games on Facebook, MySpace and elsewhere — often via their mobile devices. An estimated 100 million people are recent devotees of social games such as FarmVille, Mafia Wars, Sorority Life and Bejeweled.

The gamers, many of whom eschewed traditional video-game consoles, have spurred revenue for Facebook. The 5-year-old social-networking site recently announced it was operating in the black — a major feat in an industry beset by doubts about its ability to be profitable.

Meanwhile, the radical change in the way Americans play games has had a ripple effect on the $45 billion gaming industry. Developers large and small are designing easy-to-play diversions in hopes of capitalizing on the craze. For some, such as Nintendo and Electronic Arts (EA), it’s a return to simpler graphics and elementary objectives.

Social games are expanding the audience beyond traditional young male video-gamers and casual gamers, who tend to be women over 35. Such games are the hottest thing going in the $13 billion online-gaming market.

Atul Bagga, a gaming analyst at market researcher Think Equity, expects the $500 million to $600 million social-gaming slice of the online market to at least double, to $1 billion, in 2010.

“It is one of the fastest areas of media growth, period,” says Pete Moran, general partner at DCM, a venture-capital firm that has invested in social-game developers RockYou, PlayFirst and Outspark.

Pay to play up

Social games are free, widely available and easy to play. They load in a few seconds and require only a few minutes at a time to play. They allow friends already in contact via social-networking websites to match wits for bragging rights.

“People, at their core, like being social,” says Andrew Stein, vice president of mobile business development at PopCap, maker of Bejeweled, a gem-swapping game with 10 million monthly active users on Facebook.

Gaming is the most popular application category on Facebook and MySpace. There are eight games on Facebook with more than 12 million monthly active players. That surpasses paying customers for World of Warcraft, the most popular multiplayer online game.

Cash Registers Ringin!

Cash Registers Ringin'!

With the equivalent of a large nation of people matching wits on social games, many social-networking companies see dollar signs after years of struggling to come up with revenue models for their business.

“It has the most promising profit potential for us,” says Mike Trigg, vice president of marketing at social-networking site Hi5. One-third of its 60 million members play games on the site. Popular games can generate $2,000 to $5,000 in revenue each day.

Much of the revenue is pouring in via a new model in the USA called “freemium,” as well as old-fashioned advertising.

The freemium model, with roots in Asia, is built on the concept of giving away games, then charging players 25 cents to $10 to buy so-called virtual goods that enhance their gaming experience.

Micro-transactions can be for virtual farm tools, poker chips or swords, depending on the game, says Craig Sherman, CEO of Gaia Online, a social-gaming website that introduced the concept in the U.S. in 2004. It sells more than $1 million in virtual goods a month.

“You can have plenty of fun and not spend a nickel,” says Rob Solomon, a partner at Technology Crossover Ventures, which has invested in Super Rewards, a monetization service for online games and social networks.

To get deeper in games, though, you have to buy virtual goods or invite friends to play via online invitations, creating a potential domino effect on spending, he says.

The worldwide virtual goods market is $5 billion to $6 billion this year, with gaming accounting for about 75% to 80%, says analyst Bagga.

That bodes well for companies such as Offerpal Media, a leader in virtual-currency monetization. In two years, Offerpal has helped facilitate 250 million transactions — more than half of them in gaming.

Meanwhile, advertisers are gravitating to the popular social-gaming sections of social networks to reach tens of millions of consumers.

“It’s attractive real estate,” says Hi5’s Trigg. Hewlett-Packard, Verizon and Netflix are among major brand names running banner ads on MySpace’s gaming areas.

‘Things can change so quickly’

The social-gaming movement took off in 2007, when Facebook opened its site to applications developers.

The chatty nature of Facebook’s enormous user base makes for potential distribution — think electronic word-of-mouth among millions of friends — that game developers would figuratively kill for.

Microsoft, by comparison, has sold more than 30 million Xbox 360 consoles to date worldwide, and Sony has moved 24 million PlayStation 3 devices.

“The eye-opening moment was when Facebook launched the open platform,” says Sebastien de Halleux, chief operating officer of games maker Playfish. “It does not favor brands, retailers or marketing, but pure content. There is no (retail) shelf space to compete for.”

Playfish’s first game on Facebook, Who Has the Biggest Brain?, launched in December 2007 with 200 friends. One month later, 100,000 had played the game. By March 2008, 1 million had played. Today, 20 million.

There are hundreds of players in the burgeoning social-gaming market, but three stand out:

•Zynga’s coterie of games —FarmVille and Mafia Wars included — boasts more than 125 million monthly active users, or about three times the audience of Twitter. It’s the dominant developer on Facebook, and is credited with the first social game, Zynga Poker, in July 2007. Its newest game, CafeWorld, has zoomed to 10 million users in about a week.

“I would be surprised if they don’t go public,” says Mitch Lasky, a general partner at Benchmark Capital. He cites Zynga’s estimated $150 million in revenue this year. Zynga declined comment.

•Playdom, with more than 25 million monthly active users — most of them on MySpace — sold more than $200,000 worth of virtual pink Volkswagen Beetles in two days, Playdom says. Its revenue is about $75 million this year, Lasky estimates.

•Playfish has more than 50 million monthly active players across 10 games on Facebook. The company’s three most popular Facebook games —Pet Society, Restaurant City (“It could not exist outside of social networks,” de Halleux says) and Country Story— attracted more than 32 million players in August.

As popular as social games are, users’ loyalty can be fleeting.

The churn rate for social games is high — two to three months for most titles. Hot gaming categories seemingly change with the seasons. Before Mafia-tinged games were big, zombie games were in. Farm games are hot now; aquarium-themed games are on the upswing.

“Things can change so quickly — just look at FarmVille,” says Charles Hudson, vice president of business development at Serious Business, a 2-year-old start-up that makes social games.

A good chunk of players — 25% to 33% — play a particular game two to three months before moving on, says Ro Choy, chief revenue officer at RockYou, a developer of games played by more than 10 million people a month on Facebook and MySpace.

By comparison, only about 5% are defined as active users who play a title for more than a year.

There also are concerns about privacy. Some users take umbrage at what they call aggressive settings on Mafia Wars and other games that send promotional messages, without their approval, to Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

“People have accused us of being spammy,” says Zynga CEO Mark Pincus.

He says when a user takes an action during a game — say, adopting a stray cow on FarmVille— an e-mail notification is sent to the player’s friends. He adds that such notifications are optional, and that players can choose not to send them. Meanwhile, friends of players can choose not to view such notifications.

Keeping it simple

The new model of gaming simplicity and convenience didn’t come entirely from the Facebook/MySpace/Twitter era.

The megapopular Nintendo Wii and Activision‘s Guitar Hero helped usher in the concept of gaming while socializing, says Trip Hawkins, the Electronic Arts founder who now runs Digital Chocolate, a games developer for social networks, handheld devices and consoles.

Those games, in particular, served as a bridge from traditional games to social games. Games went from complex and graphics-rich to simple and social. A major influence was Nintendo and its introduction of the Wii console in late 2006.

“Nintendo changed all that with Wii. They, like us, did not compete on high-end graphics, production values,” says Playdom CEO John Pleasants.

“It was more about simple graphics, short games and socializing.”

But socializing on Wii and Guitar Hero has limits: Only four people can play at once, and they have to be in the same place.

“The Wii democratized social gaming, but the always-on Internet took it further,” says analyst Bagga. “So, many people who would not play games now do so on Facebook.”

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/gaming/2009-10-15-games-hit-social-networks_N.htm

Also:

BIG PLAYERS RAMP UP SOCIAL GAMES
By Jon Swartz, USA TODAY

 

SAN FRANCISCO — New companies aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the social-gaming craze. Established video-game companies are leaping into the fray:
Microsoft is making its Xbox Live gaming console available on Facebook and Twitter by year’s end.
Nintendo recently created a Facebook application that lets Wii users correspond with one another. It also launched a Twitter page with a fictional boxing reporter following the main characters of one of its games.
Electronic Arts’ Scrabble is among the most popular games on Facebook, with nearly 500,000 monthly active users. It also is available on iGoogle, iPhone, the Web and other digital platforms.
This year, EA created a social-gaming group led by Robert Nashak, formerly in charge of Yahoo Games.
Ubisoft in July launched its first game on Facebook, called TickTock.
“I haven’t personally been this excited about gaming since the first Nintendo” in the mid-1980s, says Omar Abdelwahed, who is a producer at Ubisoft.

Someone Stops Twittering… yet rhap-sodizes about it?

10 Oct

Source: Mashable

Miley Cyrus Quits Twitter, Raps About It [YouTube Video]

Miley Cyrus deleted her Twitter account this week, citing the fact that tabloids were using the Tweets as fodder for their stories.

But while deleting an online profile doesn’t usually require more than a few clicks, Cyrus went the extra mile and wrote a rap about her reasons for abandoning the site, writes the Daily Mail.

Choice lyrics include “The reasons are simple: I started tweeting about pimples. I stopped living for moments and started living for people,” and “Everything that I type and everything that I do, all those lame gossip sites take it and make it news.”

Miley’s father, Billy Ray Cyrus, urged the singer to return to Twitter (Twitter) in a Tweet on Thursday, writing “You can’t leave everyone now.We r countin on u”.

Now, to fix that door...

Now, to fix that door...

http://mashable.com/2009/10/10/miley-cyrus-quits-twitter-video/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1219408/I-deleted-Twitter-yall-Miley-Cyrus-makes-home-rap-video-explain-left-social-networking-site.html