Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Branded Content For Sale and Possibly Worth Every Dollar

The Kloons began as an online video sketch comedy troupe, producing YouTube shorts of themselves lip-synching real-life conversations. They are absolutely hilarious because they bring layered dialog, influence and power to live out of completely mundane lines of dialog. 
Their commercial arm, Kloons Viral Video Services, aim to produce comedic videos for brands that have a social purpose. They are not quite gut-busting, but will certainly elevate engagement over typical pre-roll branded video. This one is for Antidote Chocolate, an organic vegan candy brand in Brooklyn, N.Y. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 delivers an ultra-premium mix of travel content and community

In college, I co-founded a travel journal called "From Abroad" which served as a platform for students to report on their overseas study abroad experiences. Travel and writing are a great mix, and unfortunately the web has both opened the content firehose, and made it difficult to find top-notch travel writing. is a publishing community for sharing and curating ultra-premium travel content. It’s where travel freaks and writers share and discuss highly considered posts and notes on all things having to do with travel.

It was founded by a group of travel writers and/or marketers, and today has a small number of registered members in the community, who serve as content sleuths and editors, and reaches a larger, wider audience.

By bringing together travel content and community, makes usage a daily habit, even for most people who likely travel no more than a few times a year. By bringing travel into the daily lives of its members, the community satisfies an unmet desire to immerse oneself in exploration, discovery and sharing, even while sitting at home.

The thrill of travel comes from the possibility of discovery and connection around something new to you, and sharing that with others. That's why we wanted to launch our travel journal in college; so many students came back from a year abroad, and needed an outlet for sharing and building on their experiences. extends the usage habit through a system of triggers and rewards, in a way that's typical of communities. For example, it triggers usage with emails that push out the best content of the day, and rewards the best and most read posts with labels and trending status. Users who post most often and whose posts do well are rewarded with social currency.

And don't forget the richness of the content itself. The site's mission is entirely to cut through the clutter of commercialized travel content, and curate the best. Triggers and rewards alone won't cut it, but a combination of content and community may have staying power.

Monday, May 25, 2015

How-to Apple Guides

iPad running Houzz, a home design app that lets you purchase right from the spread.

Apple is still promoting the virtues of the iPad, running takeovers on this morning, on a holiday weekend when armchair home designers might have an extra eight hours to consider a major redecorating project, but don't know where to start. 

Fire up the iPad, and let the landing page take you through the basics of a personalized redesign of your kitchen or living room.

I love how Apple equals creativity, armchair or otherwise. "Just Design It" might've been a workable tagline in another world when Nike didn't exist. Apple's ecosystem of more flexible and lower-power devices (lower power relative to iMacs and Pros) enables those who might never design to think of themselves differently. 

Now you can design your living space, thanks to a tablet and a host of related apps, from Houzz (pictured), to Pinterest to Wiki-how. They even flog iCloud as a way to backup all those projects.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Where in the World is Mobile Web Usage Highest?


Royal Pingdom released this study of global benchmarks for mobile web usage as a percent of total web usage by region.  Worldwide mobile users currently make up about 3.8% of all visitors to web sites. The finding that Asia and Africa exceed rest of world for this benchmark by 2x or more is completely in line with our own global research conducted with MoneyGram this Oct, which identified a similar mobile leapfrog happening in these two regions to about the same extent. Of course that’s a function of these regions having far fewer PC-based surfers in these areas, but the fact that a cheap Nokia unit with a basic browser can get someone online who otherwise couldn’t afford a PC w dial-up can’t be ignored.


Other US client sites we track seem to get 2-3% of web visits from mobile OSs, and generally iOS is #1 (iPhone and iPod), Android is 2nd and RIM is 3rd.




Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Global Payments: One Size Does NOT fit all

This article would have been a near-perfect input to a payments brainstorm I led last week for a client:




  - China has the largest group of internet users in the world, but a very low card penetration rate... which has NOT slowed the growth of ecommerce.

  - In Brazil, cards are used online, but installment payments are common.

  - In Germany, people have cards but don't like to use them online.

  - And in Europe and Asia, COD is still popular, even for online ordering.


Amazing how well this article frames the country by country opportunities based on user habits, not technology.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

The multi channel challenge

NYTimes: Why Bricks and Clicks Don’t Always Mix

The story of Netflix over Blockbuster is one of innovation for sure. It's a story of timing and of having the digital rising tide at your beckoning. But most of all, it's a story of channel focus. It's hard enough to manage a business in one channel, let alone two. As recently as 2005, analysts saw Blockbuster as a sure thing. But now, it's clear in hindsight that running a digital business well Could not be done as effectively when managing brick and mortar stores, Blockbuster's managers tried to do.
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

The world is going online

A couple of decent benchmarks in US and global traffic. In addition to Facebook taking number one in total minutes in the US:
Google crosses 1B users globally for first time, and Yahoo number one in total monthly traffic globally:
"In a research note on the latest monthly traffic figures from comScore, Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney pointed out that Google said its number of global users crossed 1 billion for the first time last month. But Yahoo edged out Google in August to become the top site in monthly traffic, with 179 million unique visitors. Google had 178.8 million, followed by Microsoft with 165.3 million. Facebook remained the fourth-ranked site, at 148 million, up from 145.5 million in July. Rising traffic combined with increasing time spent on the site bodes well for Facebook's efforts to monetize its vast inventory."
FB ads are particularly sticky when a friend likes them:
"Research from Nielsen earlier this year showed people are 68% more likely to remember an ad and twice as likely to remember what it said when they see a friend has interacted with the ad on Facebook. The company struck a deal with Nielsen last year to help provide data to marketers demonstrating that its display ads work."