Is Web2.0 an online phenomenon?

Reiterating what I said in one of my previous posts – web2.0 is a socially driven phenomenon, facilitated by technology

So is internet necessary for web2.0? Not Really! Web2.0 is not online-dependent.

An interesting parallel is that of mashups. The benefit they offered to users was an integrated experience of viewing things/contents from different sources on the same page – without having to go to multiple sites.

Extending the same idea to offline – read an interesting article on Bnet Yum Brands, the global fast-food restaurant operator. Interestingly they adopted the similar concept in 1995. Yum began with multibranded units — restaurants that offer two different fast food brands under the one roof.

Such Mashup restaurants/Co-located restaurants offer customers more food choices, which is especially convenient for families.

The core concepts of web2.0, namely, collaboration, syndication (distribution), mashup/aggregation (mix n match) and personalization can be adopted by offline business to give them a winning edge!

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Google Gears Vs Microsoft Office

After feed reader becoming accessible offline, next application to be made accessible offline could be Google docs or spreadsheet. Could this be a threat to Microsoft? Especially for small businesses.

This has definitely been a smart move by Google. It clearly showcases focus on Programmers and a step towards building developer ecosystem with APIs since as compared with Microsoft’s developer community, Google’s community still has long way to go.

NBC proposed to launch TV show ‘widgets’

Thought an interesting concept, still not too sure if this is the only way to solicit visitors and entice social interaction.

What is that they would offer different from other social networking sites? I agree, NBC video is something they can leverage on, but then why do the run of the mill stuff of providing buddies, personalized profiles, blogs etc.

Though not mentioned in explicit terms, hope they do not just provide blog infrastructure and invite people to create blogs within NBC domain. This can stickiness, but early adopters would, all probability be, those who have profiles on multiple sites. Through this, they can definitely increase pageviews and traffic, but no guarantee of “relevant” and “serious” traffic.

A better approach would be to collaborate with existing social networking sites, allowing people to share and upload videos and photos from NBC and generate discussion.

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Social networking on Mobile

Now that majority of phones come with browsers, video/media player and cameras, its time to enhance interaction on mobile! By creating communities on mobile, companies are empowering consumers to use phones for more than just talking and smsing.

Social networking on Mobile is a growing field and by 2011, the market is expected to be worth $13.1 Billion, as compared to $3.5 Billion in 2206. Asia Pacific is expected to contribute maximum to this – a whooping $6 billion by 2011. Photo and chat services will drive much of this traffic (Source: Projections by Informa Telecoms and Media)

In terms of demographic, as expected young people do more social networking on mobile devices :18-20yrs old, followed by 13-17yrs old (Source M:Metrics)

Recently there have been announcement of partnership by MySpace, eBay, YouTube, and others with mobile network partners like T-Mobile, Sprint, Cingular and Vodafone and creating convergence in the space of web and mobile.

However, the aspect missing as of now is the “Viral element” since not all have right phones service combination. For this, carriers will have to open up and not have proprietary software.

Let’s hope to see this genre open up and boom soon!

Community buzz: On a self-congratulatory path

Taking the thread from my previous post, though I liked what Toyota did, since it came across as a successful campaign and gave freedom of expression to bloggers.

Unlike Edelman Public Relations, who has been caught twice in unethical and fake Wal-Mart blog (flog) scandals and has been accused of bribing bloggers to write favorable reviews of Microsoft’s new Vista operating system.

Though such moves do give an initial push and glorified PR, this definitely does not help in paradigm shift to customer involvement. What is needed are not “self glorified” comments and posts, rather a way to reach-out to the consumers and “Listen”, “respond” and “improve” to ensure you give what they want.

A good example of responding to customers is of Dell Blog – direct2dell.com, though they too took a long time to respond to criticisms and Bloggers. “No comment” is no answer for corporations that have a responsibility to shareholders, clients and consumers.

Even when Jeff Jarvis started blogging about being in “Dell Hell” because of problems with a Dell laptop, the company did not take any action. Eventually, when mainstream media and Wall Street took note of Dell’s problems, which led to financial losses, Dell finally agreed to address customer service issues.

Bloggers help sell high value products

Toyota has carried out an interesting blog marketing campaign in Greece.

For the launch of their new hatchback model, the Auris, Toyota Hellas carried out a digital campaign to actively engage consumers with the brand and to generate leads for “test-drive” requests.

To create a buzz Blogger community was involved and was invited to test-drive the car for a week. Their finding from respective blogs were collected into a central blog, at http://www.aurisblog.gr.

A banner campaign was also run inviting general public to request a test-drive, which could also win them a 4-star hotel weekend in Greece with of course the Auris at their disposal.

The Auris Blog campaign lasted for 10 weeks. There were 85 requests from Greek Bloggers and the car was given to 15 of them. The campaign highlights were:

· 55 different posts, most of them with photos and videos. (A digital camera was given as a gift to the bloggers).

· 175 comments to the posts.

· More than 52,000 visits by 41,000 unique visitors to the Auris Blog.

· Overall response rate of the banner campaign was at 4.75%.

· 2,000 test-drive requests were submitted from this campaign, accounting for 50% of the total test-drive requests received through all channels (phone, in-store, events or promotions).

In January 2006, IAMAI had taken views of few online experts on high usage of Internet as a marketing tool by carmakershttp://www.iamai.in/section.php3?secid=21&press_id=794&mon=1