Valentine's day in Startup Land
So, what are you planning this Valentine's day? Top this: Instagram founder Mike Krieger's girlfriend, Kaitlyn Trigger, built him an app for Valentine's day. Without knowing how to code! She started last December, learned Python and then built Lovestagram. She noted in the end, as most programmers know, learning how to code was really easy. How to put everything together … that was the hard part. Heart warming!
Numbers flock to the Social Network newcomers
Have you noticed how many people have started following you on Google+ lately? It's no coincidence, and frankly, it's not only you. Google+ is absolutely exploding, to the point where it now has half the unique visitors that Twitter has! One caveat to take note of: Twitter is constantly undervalued in this area, as much of its traffic comes from mobile apps, not counted by web stats. Another relatively new network, Pinterest, is the fastest stand-alone website ever to hit 10 million monthly unique visitors. On top of that, the average pinterest user spends 98 minutes per month on the site! If you're still in the dark about what Pinterest is good for exactly, check out mashable's board of top Superbowl ads. Nice, eh?
Pinterest is not only popular, they're also very sneaky
More cheating: On Pinterest, there is a strong use case for brands to link pictures (or "pins") of products to their online shops. Pinterest enhances this use case by presenting users with a "gifts" tab, where product pictures are sorted by price, with the price displayed prominently on each picture. It simply gets this price from your pin description. This is very nice of them, but it's just surfaced that they're not exactly doing this for free. Through affiliate-links partner Skimlinks, they're earning themselves a bit of money off your purchases by modifying the links to your products. This is all fine, except, they didn't tell anyone about it … and by doing so, they have quite a few users very hot under the collar.
P&G signals shift to digital & social
Top news this week is that Proctor & Gamble has laid off 1,600 employees, shifting budget to digital and social. To quote their CEO, Bob McDonald:
In the digital space, with things like Facebook and Google and others, we find that return on investment of the advertising when properly designed, when the big idea is there, can be much more efficient.
Sky prohibits journos to Retweet, break stories on Twitter
Stonewalling: It's a difficult one for broadcasters. Both Sky and the BBC has tried to reign in and regulate how their journalists share information on Twitter. These social tools raise the profile and shift power to individual journos at the expense of their institutions. But curtailing journos' actions on Twitter will only leave them hamstrung and at a disadvantage to other users. Already there is talk of Twitter users refusing to Retweet Sky accounts.
Retailers and the mobile threat
More Stonewalling: Retailers have reason to be worried about mobile. Why? In increasing amounts, customers check product reviews while in shops, and compare prices on online stores. What to do? Econsultancy has an in depth post outlining some of the options and possibilities, including mobile coupons – well worth a read. In related news, Google announced that it is opening its first physical shop, following Ebay's lead.
Turning action into advertising
Facebook will soon introduce more social advertising formats. This time they will allow advertisers to sponsor user actions. In other words, when a friend listens to Moderat on Spotify, the message telling you of this fact can be sponsored by a record label. Or a similar sounding, less known band.
The Death of the Cyberflâneur
Arguing: Before Paris got its grand boulevards, it had little nooks and crannies where anonymous flâneurs could just leisurely stroll and discover the unexpected. Internet critic Morozov wrote this week in the New York Times how social sites like Facebook has killed the flânerie of the early web. Zeynep Tufeckci was not convinced:
…the social web has greatly increased exactly this quality of the Internet – encountering the unsearched and the unplanned … connectivity through people – the social web – yields more diverse and surprising encounters than mere connectivity through topics or information
Creative of the week – Colin Pinegar
How many of your Facebook friends are 'real friends'? American design student Colin Pinegar used that very fundamental question as the starting point for a striking piece of design/art called 'Best Friends'. Based on a set of simple questions (like "Do I know this person's phone number?") he scored his online friends. That range of scores got plotted on a colour spectrum and then turned into a series of wax sculptures of his own face. It's a simple, but thought-provoking visualisation of a very interesting issue.
Posted by Gerrie Smits