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The RAAKonteur #20 – Social funding, Google hates baddies & why people share

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6 December 2010

"That is Tron – he fights for users"

In the 80s movie, Tron is a computer program that fights on behalf of humans.

This week Robert Scoble, our favourite geek, tweeted a clarion call that would have sent shivers down Google's spine.

This is why Facebook will eventually monetize better than Google: I trust my friends. I don't trust algorithms.http://nyti.ms/f5XU9c

The article behind that link happened to be one of the best pieces of investigative journalism to see the light of day for quite some time. To summarise, a thuggish specs dealer used his notoriety to garner inbound links to his website, making him rank higher on Google (if you forgot how Google's rankings works, read our primer on PageRank).

Clearly this was a failure of Google's system. But less than a week later Google responded with a tweak to their algorithm. This is why we like Google. They fight for users.

Why do people share stuff?

This week we take an in-depth look as to why people pass on or share content and what marketeers and website builders can learn from that.

Clue, people don't share your content because they love your brand, they do so because the love their friends.

Social funding gets free

You know by now we're fans of Kickstarter. And we were excited about Fundbreak's move into the UK. But here's a third top player that could well change the social funding market.

Ulule is a France-based platform that does the same as the others – enable people to source funding from anyone who is interested in a project – but unlike the others they don't take a cut from the funds raised. Although there are plans to introduce paid-for features.


Visionless news

A week after the Editor of the Guardian proclaimed that no news organisation can match Twitter, the Telegraph announced that the Twitter CEO has no long term vision. Dick Costello had made the mistake of answering a question about their plans for Twitter like so:

I am working on clarity around that at the moment. I am currently trying to define what Twitter’s purpose is in the long term. We will be able to be more specific on that answer in the near future.

This honesty obviously astonishes a paper that is used to the world of spin. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder, added that it was difficult to try and define Twitter’s function and purpose, as so many of its uses had been defined by its users over the past four years.

In other news The Telegraph is considering introducing a partial paywall.

Crowdsource the snow

In a very good example of active Twitter data mining, if not downright Twitter data creation, Ben Marsh, a web developer from Leicestershire, wrote the UK snow map. It urges people to use custom tags in their Tweet messages along with the hashtag #uksnow (another reason why we can't wait for Twitter Annotations) to indicate how much it has snowed in their area. These tweets are then mined to display the snowfall on a google map.

The only downfall of this is the fact that it is very much volume-dependent, so at a first glance, it seems as if most of the snow has fallen in London!

Take On Ted – the video

Take On Ted, the world's first Twitter styling event we did with Guided a few weeks ago, really was a success. Even We Are Social said it was "brilliant work".

If you missed the event, here are 2 videos that give you a good idea of how it worked.


A/B testing or To be poetic or clear

In case you're not familiar with the term, A/B testing is when you test two versions of a website to see which performs better. Well WordPress has a new plugin that allows you to do A/B testing on your pithy headlines.

Another new agency model – the Paypal button

Our good friends from Knotoryus pointed us to this rather intriguing item in ad agency Wieden+Kennedy's online shop: book a phonecall with a creative team for 10 minutes.

Which got them thinking (they do that quite well). Imagine a Paypal button on your agency site that lets you book a quick session with someone. No invoices, no briefs, none of that 'we should talk'. Just instant creative input.

Don't be surprised if you see it soon on the Knotoryus site.

The RAAKonteur gets some praise

We made a list of all the positive comments we've been getting on this weekly newsletter. Thank you so much. If you enjoy this newsletter please do send it on to people you think might enjoy it too.

Our world is so 360

This week we used a lovely new iPhone app to take a 360 panorama of the RAAK offices.

Creative of the week – Harald Geisler

Here's a lovely project that also celebrates the beauty of randomly combined letters, just like our logo project.

Harald Geisler is a typographer who's developed the 2011 Typographic Wall Calendar. Basically it's a calendar constructed from 2011 individual keyboard letters. The keys are arranged manually in a grid and if you read them, they read each day of the year in sequence.

You can order your print through Kickstarter, which Geisler used to fund this lovely project.

Tech insight of the week – Klout is broken

We've managed (on our first try) to build a Twitter bot that, within 80 days, managed to get a Klout score of 50, and 336 Twitter followers. Should this be possible? We think not, unless Klout is broken. Read more >>

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