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The RAAKonteur #5 – checking in and the collective power of social buying

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20 August 2010

More weekly goodness from the RAAKonteur. We’ve noticed that you keenly click on the links in this newsletter, so from now on we’ll put all of them in one handy RAAKonteur Delicious account.
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Facebook is going Places

Early this morning Facebook launched its much anticipated foray into location – Facebook Places. Announcing the launch Facebook asked:

“Ever gone to a show, only to find out afterward that your friends were there too? With Places, you can discover moments when you and your friends are at the same place at the same time.”

For now it’s only available in the US. And Foursquare and Gowalla, the leaders in location thus far, will be allowing their users to check into Facebook when users check into them.

As Jeff Jarvis points out, what’s at stake here is the lucrative local advertising market. Once again newspapers are being left behind. He points to a Techcrunch article as evidence:

“Interestingly, Facebook seems to actively be targeting advertisers on the network. It is already distributing a how-to guide for registering a Place page for their businesses, the benefits and more.”

Have you checked in yet?

Facebook’s location news is exciting for us. We’re big fans of location services here at RAAK. As part of the Guided Collective we helped develop a Foursquare campaign for shopping mall giants Westfield.

But it’s not just real locations that people are checking into these days. Miso is set up as a service that lets you ‘check into’ your favourite tv shows. And with GetGlue users can check into music, books and films. They’ve been getting a whopping 2 check-ins per second!

The ace up GetGlue’s sleeve is a powerful recommendation engine.

“As users check-in and like things on GetGlue, they are fed increasingly better recommendations based on their interests and those of their friends. This leads to more check-ins, creating a powerful feedback-loop for the service.”

Apart from the fact that these services enable the social layer of the likes of telly, what is a sign of the times is that these services are all adopting the ‘check-in’ terminology whole-heartedly.

The collective buying power of Groupons

You might remember that we spoke about social funding of creative projects via KickStarter in RAAKonteur 1.

There is a new service in the US spreading like wildfire. Nieman Lab reports that retailers, magazines and service companies have been using ‘Groupons’ to offer special deals:

“With Groupon growing by the day, the overwhelmed merchant is part of its lore. The Boston helicop-tour that sold 2,600 rides in four hours. The Seattle guitar teacher booked through New Year’s. The Chicago nail salon keeping women flipping through magazines waiting for their cheap mani-pedis.”

BUT you only get the deal if you can convince a few of your friends to purchase together with you. And of course Groupon makes it easy to mobilise via Facebook and Twitter. It’s the power of collective buying, and as with Kickstarter, you only get charged once the target amount is reached.

The web is dead? Then it’s a disturbingly growing zombie?

So Chris Anderson did write a piece on how the web is dead. Read some great rebuttals from blogs Boing Boing and Techcrunch and about the irony of it all.

As Gawker says: Anderson’s article first appeared on Wired magazines ever more profitable website.

Are marketers asking the right questions?

If you’re a marketer that knows your way round digital, you should really spend some time on this Slideshare presentation from Gareth Kay. It’s about how the client brief hasn’t changed much in the last 20-odd years. And how it should change prontissimo, given the fact that technology has disrupted the communication context dramatically. Made it more fragmented, more social.

It’s full of cool insights, but a favourite quote is: “Stop communicating products and start making communication products”.

Which we wholeheartedly agree with. We mentioned the arrival of the iAds service in last week’s RAAKonteur. In itself that’s a very interesting fact, but why make a half-baked ad to put around a semi-decent app, if you have the chance to make a great app yourself.

Oh, go on then: here’s another one. “Understand what people are interested in. And work back from there”.

Food for thought.

BBC Dimensions – How big is the oil spill really?

If Neil Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crew would have started their moonwalk in the RAAK office, they would barely have left the building. They didn’t walk very far at all!

We learnt that trivial fact from BBC Dimensions, a digital tool that lets you put outlines of historic locations (and the Glastonbury festival) on top of a map of your area. It’s a really simple, clear way of visualizing numbers and add context to abstract things like the BP Oil Spill.

Creatives of the week – Traci & Ashley

Susan Sontag once said: “physical beauty is enormously, almost morbidly, important to me”. We agree.

We follow the work of a number of photographers on Flickr. Two of our favourites are Texans Traci Matlock and Ashley Maclean, who often work together, shooting viceral and gorgeous pictures of themselves, their friends and life. (Some pics only visible to Flickr members).

Surely a Taschen book deal for Traci and Ashley is only a matter of time?

They have a blog together here. Traci’s blog. Ashley’s blog.

Tech insight of the week – What’s the value of WordPress?

We’ve always been impressed by the power of WordPress, the free and open-source web publishing platform.

But this week we wondered how much it would cost to build the whole thing from scratch. Read more here.

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