April 24, 2007

Wkipedia & Google Help To Discover Kryptonite

By Li Evans

SupermankryptoniteIn a headline that seems to be ripped from the D.C. comic pages, it seems that the a museum curator got the idea to enter in the composition of a new mineral identified as Jadarite into Google.  What did Google return?  Surprise, surprise, it gave back an entry from Wikipedia for Kryptonite.  Unless you live in a *bat*cave, you would know that Kryptonite is the fictional mineral that saps the power from Superman.

The new mineral was found in a mine located in Serbia, however unlike the Superman Returns list of the mineral's chemistry composition, the rock doesn't contain fluorine.  The white rock also lacks the basic element "kypton", thus why it can't be called Kyrptonite.

"I'm afraid it's not green and it doesn't glow either," Chris Stanley of the Natural History Museum told BBC News. "Although it will react to ultraviolet light by fluorescing a pinkish-orange."

We all now know kryptonite exists, right, since it's chemical compound is in Wikipedia?  If your interested in learning more about Jadarite, Wikipedia has that too.

Ms. Lisa, how could I truly resist reporting on this?  Don't worry though, they get no link love from SMG!

April 16, 2007

Newsvine Beats Digg To Punch

By Li Evans

Looks like Newsvine's users beat Digg's users in promoting the tragic mass shooting at Virginia Tech to the front page.  It was just about 1 p.m., and I was just finishing up lunch when I decided to take a gander at how the social news sites were handling this story.  I decided this was probably pretty popular since MSNBC's servers were taxed and when you could get through they reported no press were allowed into the campus.

To my surprise it was Newsvine that had the story already as the most active out on their front page.  Digg, for all its fame around "fast" news, didn't have it on the first two pages.  Netscape & Reddit were both minus the story as well at the time of this posting either.  Below is some screen captures.

Newsvineshootingfrontpage
Diggshootingfrontpage_2

Netscapeshootingfrontpage
Redditshootingfrontpage

Social news is fast - but it isn't always Digg that's the fastest!

update/clarification: this post was only meant to show the comparison among the social news sites, not social news as a substitute for main stream media, that would just be plain silly.  Also, as noted by Vicki (which I should have pointed out more clearly) it was actually Killfile's story that made it to the front page first, it's just that the AP story was more prominent.  Killfile's story about the VT incident is right below the AP Story with the picture.

April 01, 2007

Microsoft to Buy Digg - April Fools?

By Li Evans

Alchemistmedia In what I think could very well be another total absolute April Fool's prank, Jessie's got a post out on her blog (The Alchemy of Search) about a draft press release that is going to be released tomorrow.  The press release indicates that Microsoft is going to buy Digg.

REDMOND, Wash. – April 2nd, 2007 – Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Digg, Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

The deal has been in the works for several weeks, according to Microsoft spokesman Mario Nette, who noted that, “Digg is a pioneer in crowd sourcing, the Web 2.0 way of discovering what is important to a new generation of technology-friendly consumers. The Digg community is our natural consumer base and this acquisition is a great opportunity to connect with them. Digg users are passionate about Microsoft products and we are anxious to engage them through this new channel.”    ...

Yeah, as bizarre as that sounds - I can only guess that this is a total April Fool's Day prank, especially since Diggrz hate Microsoft! 

March 04, 2007

Social Media Sites: A Handy Reference Guide

By Li Evans

Social Media Sites - just what are they?  While moderating the Social Media & Tagging forum over at Cre8asite Forums, I've become inspired to come up with a list of what makes up Social Media.  Since a lot of people have different ideas about Social Media and what it does or doesn't include, there's no one solid answer.  So I wanted to offer a place of reference for the audience to see all the different working parts of Social Media in easy to reference post.

Social Media Sites - Social News:
NewsvineSocial news site are places that users of a service or members of the community can submit news articles and then the community votes them up or down.  Members can also comment on thes e submissions and conversations can ensue about the stories validity.  General sites have categories to submit stories too, however there is a rising tide of genre (topic, gender, geographical) specific social news sites to look out for.
Example sites:  Digg, Reddit, Netscape, Newsvine, I-Am-Bored, Searchmob, Shoutwire, Bringr

Social Media Sites - Photo Sharing:
Photobucket_1 Flickr is probably the best known social photo sharing site around among our "search circles", but Photobucket is probably still more widely used.  It's also a great way to share not just photos, but information about those photos.  Most social photo sharing sites now allow you to add a lengthy description of the photos, geotags about the pictures and tags that you feel relate to the pictures you are sharing.  Along with the owner adding this information, your friends and group members can add comments to the pictures.
Example sites:  Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, Webshots Community, Kodak Gallery, ImageShack, SnapFish

Social Media Sites - Video Sharing:
Revver_1 Unless you've been living under a rock this past year, you know about Google's acquisition of YouTube.  However, there's more than just YouTube out there when it comes to video sharing and this is probably the fastest growing area of Social Media out there.  New ventures are popping up all the time and being acquired as well.  Jumpcut was acquired by Yahoo last year, so Google's not alone in recognizing the importance of this channel of the market.  Social Video Sharing offers a lot of what Social Photo Sharing, but some sites add in more "sharing" features in the form of subscriptions to channels, rating the video and offering code to embed the players on social networks or blogs.
Example sites:  YouTube, Jumpcut, Joost, Grouper, Revver, Blip.TV, VideoEgg, Daily Motion

Social Media Sites - Bookmarking:
DiigoThis part of Social Media is a great way to share what web pages you feel are important enough to bookmark.  Reining champ in this arena is de.licio.us, which is owned by Yahoo!  Along with saving your bookmarks, in almost all of these services, you can add tags and sometimes comments, as well as descriptions to your entries.  Titles for the links are also editable, you can choose to name it something different than what the actually page title is.  A lot of these services have become keen to the idea of promoting what's popular, so most of these services now have pages that display "recently bookmarked" or "most popular bookmarks" along with popular tags.  Like Social News, this space in Social Media also offers genre specific sites.
Example sites:  de.licio.us, Diigo, Furl, Bluedot, ma.gnolia.com, TekTag, Linklog, CloudyTags, Spurl

Social Media Sites - Social Networks:
Disneysocialnetwork As the success of MySpace and Facebook are spoken about in the press and in boardrooms across America, more and more corporations are considering adding their own specific networks for brands, products and companies.  Take for example Disney.com, they just launched their own social network, Toyota's got one for their Prius and Coca-Cola has one too.  Brands, products and in particularly movies are all wising up and creating their own MySpace page as well to try and reach this lucrative market of engaged community members.
Example Sites:  MySpace, Facebook, Live Journal, TagWorld, Disney XD, Toyota Prius, MSN Groups, Yahoo 360

Social Media Sites - Answer Services:
Yahooanswers This a really small, but powerful niche of Social Media.  I found out just what a great source of traffic it was last month when someone on Yahoo! Answers pointed to Search Marketing Gurus for an answer to a question.  With Answer Services, community members strive to give the best quality answers to questions that are posed to the community.  The "king" in this arena is Yahoo! Answers, but Answers.com isn't far behind.  Established sites like Linked In are also adding their own form of Answering services as well.
Example site:  Yahoo! Answers, Answers.com, Linked In Answers, Questionville, Askville,

Social Media Sites - Forums & Message Boards:
Probably the granddaddy of all Social Media, but the most forgotten are forums and message/bulletin boards.  These social gathering places have been around probably even longer than the idea of "search" itself.  With forums for genres, specialties, genders, marital status, pet owners, hobbies and everything else under the sun, they offer a place for communities to form, members to contribute and information to be shared.  There are literally thousands of these types of services out there, just type in the subject you want to research and attached the word "forum" or "message board" to the end and you'll see what I mean.
Example Sites:  Cre8asite Forums, Television Without Pity, Rotten Tomatoes, Search Engine Watch, High Rankings, Collector's Society, StarTrek Message Boards, Epicurious, The Greyhound Message Board

Social Media Sites - Those Social Media Services That Don't Fit a "Category" -- YET!:
Linkedin Finally we have those sites that just don't fit into any of these categories.  For one reason or another, they are of their own enitity.  Perhaps, they are filling a need that no one else is filling, or maybe they straddle the fence between categories, but no matter their uncategorized status, they are still very much a part of the Social Media category. These are all sites that fill a category all their own, but what should they be named?
Example sites:  StumbleUpon (social discovery?), MyBlogLog (social blog networking?), LinkedIn (social professional networking?), Wikipedia (social encylopedia?),

Measuring Social Media:
Buzzlogic Lastly, how do you measure social media?  Well there's not one tool, beyond perhaps tweaking your own analytics software to include a certain set of sites that refer traffic, that can take into account everything that might be considered a Social Media site.  There are some tools that come close, but a lot of analysts are piecing together the in-house right now than utilizing these services since they are all still in their infancy.
Example Social Media Measuring Services:  Buzzlogic, BlogPulse, Technorati, Feedburner

I hope this list helps you out in understanding Social Media a bit better and maybe even give you some ideas of what channels you can utilize for your clients or even yourself.  If I find any any glaring omissions, I'll update this post with the new information I find.

March 02, 2007

We Can Bitch About Digg All Day Long

By Li Evans

Digg In the past week, Digg's been the subject of a lot of articles.  From unbanning legitimate newsites and blogs like TopRankBlog, JohnChow.com and others it had previously let its' Digg "Thug Posses" mark as spam, and adding new categories like Microsoft and U.S. Elections 2008 to today's latest from Wired Magazine proving yet again that Digg can be gamed, can anyone keep score?

I'm not a huge fan of Digg, but I realize it's power, and potential for my clients.  I also realize every system has serious flaws, and when those systems are as popular as Digg has become, naturally a big red target is painted on it.  The same phenomena can be seen happening with MyBlogLog, exploits and gaming have begun to plague that popular service as well.

There's a difference though, Digg still refuses to admit it has to deal with issues of gaming, where MyBlogLog has admitted there's been bumps along the way.  This gaming that's going on, that's mentioned in the Wired Article, isn't by SEO's, it's by a for profit company who has nothing to do with SEO.  It's by its own members, too - they are getting paid for their diggs.

Bitching However, as much as we bitch and moan here in our "Search" space about Digg, it's not going anywhere.  I also highly doubt that Digg will ever come back and be as open as MyBlogLog has been, even to the point of admitting a mistake.  Maybe if they did, there wouldn't be such a hard line "love/hate" relationship, and perhaps there wouldn't be as much of a need to "prove them wrong" by everyone and their brother.

The truth of the matter is, we can bitch about Digg all day long, but, honestly what good does it do?  Does it get us anywhere?  No, it doesn't.  It does get us frustrated and maybe a little raise in our the blood pressure, and neither is good for our clients.  What we can do as marketers is educate ourselves about Digg, understand it both its good points and its flaws - and use that knowledge for the good of our clients.

* Just a postscript thought about User Submitter:  Here's a thought, what happens to User Submitter if Digg gets smart and joins as a "Diggr" was diggs the submitted stories?  They could tell then who's submitting and essentially shut the operation down, couldn't they?

January 23, 2007

Techmeme vs. Digg - Knowing Your Audience & Client

By Li Evans

Techmemevsdigg Techmeme vs. Digg?  There really shouldn't be a comparison, should there?  However after thinking about this for a while there is a bit of a comparison when it comes to "getting noticed".  After reading Kim Krause Berg's post about not Digging being Dugg on Digg, I sat and thought about this a bit more in depth.  It's really about knowing who your audience is, or who your customer's audience is and knowing whether or not Techmeme, Digg or any other of these social media and social news services, fit.

I'm sure who 85% of my audience is.  It's readers who want to learn more about the Search and Internet Marketing Industry.  My readers are people who tend to be Tech Savvy or at least Internet Savvy, professionals who are over the age of 20.  These are professionals who understand or at least acknowledge that most of SEO isn't spam.  These people will tend to read and trust what they see on Techmeme before Digg.

Audience Digg, although the traffic numbers are very alluring, is NOT my audience.  The majority of users on the service do not understand anything about this industry and consider the majority of it as Spam.  They might be educated in other areas, but a decent portion of the highly active users are much younger and haven't a clue what this industry is really about.  That much is apparent by the comments they leave on Digg and also on the blog articles that are Dugg.

When I look at a client's audience, I find for the majority of them, Techmeme isn't the ideal place to look at to attract new audience members.  Digg, Netscape, Reddit & Newsvines are more of a fit for my clients.  Other social media services like Stumble Upon or MySpace might also offer another place to find new audience members. It is all about knowing your client intimately enough to understand how to reach their target audience.

Writing If you are a new blogger, don't worry about getting Dugg or even hitting Techmeme, that's secondary to providing good content.  Concentrate on establishing and knowing who your audience is, then decide what social media option best for you -- and your audience.  Once you have your hands around who's reading your blog, then experiment a little with providing some different types content, but remember, your base audience is your most loyal - don't piss them off.

If you write great content that serves a purpose and is valuable (and not all about you), other bloggers and people will notice and link to it.  Over time, you'll build a great base that will help to build your audience on its own.  Sure it's great to be Dugg, and you'll find a few good additions to your audience, but the more valuable audience member is one referred by a current reader.

So keep this in mind, in the end, it isn't about writing for Techmeme verses writing for Digg - it's about writing great content for your audience that keeps them coming back for more. 

December 26, 2006

What Do Those Diggrz Like?

By Li Evans

Whatdiggrzlikepiechart Everyone assumes that Diggrz (or Diggers - I'll be Web 2.0 savvy and drop the last vowel) love Apple and hate Microsoft, or that they love Web 2.0 and hate SEO.  Has anyone gone and done the research to come back with some statistics on just what this community loves, likes and doesn't really care for?  Until recently, there hadn't been much out there.  Neil Patel & Stuntdl have both given us their views on what the Digg community likes and dislikes.  That information came from their own experience and tremendous wealth of knowledge and expertise in this area.

I came across an interesting blog today called StatisticsFreak.  This blog did an analysis of what Diggrz submitting and digging across a 4 week window of time.  The study focused solely on the Technology section of Digg and took data twice a day for a month on what was popular within that area of Digg.

The study found that industry news and stories about Apple lead the way, nothing surprising there since it's well known that Diggrz love Apple.  What did surprise the author was 4th and 5th place.

"Design unexpectedly occupied the 4th place, and that was a real surprise for me. It turned out that diggers are more interested in CSS tricks and hidden abilities of Photoshop than in WinXP migration on Ubuntu or in another Linux Red Hat release. And I was also surprised that Linux/Unix topic has only taken 5th place."

This article is an interesting read on a subject that is becoming more predominant in Search Marketing.  Although I've stated publicly my total dislike for Digg, I'm wise enough to realize that for my clients, this is an area of Social Media that cannot be ignored - no matter my own personal distaste.  Information like this study is always helpful in understanding and analyzing an audience you need to reach.

UPDATE:  I discovered that Eugene, the author of StatisticsFreak, also did the same analysis for Reddit! - Check it out.

September 20, 2006

Social Media Marketing - Where's the Value?

By Li Evans

There's been a lot of hype over the last couple of months about all of these new social networking sites and their "Web 2.0 features".  Search industry professionals are even coining phrases to categorize this new area of the Search Marketing Industry.  Terms like "Social Media Optimization" (SMO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) are being offered up to describe the actions of optimizing and marketing websites and blogs through the social networks like MySpace, Facebook, social news sites like Digg and Reddit and also social book-marking sites like De.licio.us, Furl, Bluedot and Diigo.

There's been a lot of discussion about the value of optimizing for these new areas of the web, some are even questioning if they belong lumped into search at all.  Then there is the whole discussion of the value of these networks and services, and how do you measure their worth?

Unlike paid search (PPC), with social networking, most of the time, there isn't a direct correlation with a visit to purchase ratio.  PPC is more of the instantaneous type of marketing - I put up the ad, and within an hour or two I can start to see results.  Social networking doesn't have that advantage, as you have to wait for others within the network to find it and "pass it along".

Social networking works more like natural search optimization - although, there can be an initial short lived "bang" from some of the sites, for example something picked up by Digg or Reddit.  But where I see the benefits of these sites is the long-tail.  At first I was rather skeptical of Social Bookmarking, but as an experiment I started bookmarking entries on Search Marketing Gurus just to test out the services and see how they perform. 

On a consistent basis, I'm seeing older posts get hits from the book-marking services through the searches, in a sense it is like the users of the book-marking services are utilizing it more as a 2nd tier type of search engine, relying more on what other people have found "worthy" or "relevant" to bookmark and finding articles, websites and information that more fit their searches.

Along with the older blog entries getting more traffic, there has been two other things I noticed.  Visitors coming through the social book-marking services have a longer stay time on the blog.  The visitors also traverse more of Search Marketing Gurus, than searchers coming through regular search engines.  Granted, this is just in the beginning stages, but its enough to make it stand out through the analytics and the other item to note is that this is a blog - not a commerce site.

So what's the value of social media marketing?  Perhaps there is more value to websites that have a lot of consumer generated content - like blogs, or commerce sites with blogs attached, than just the static website that hardly changes.  Return on Blog (ROB) investment is a little more difficult to track compared to the ROI on a PPC campaign.  Generally there's not a purchase attached to a visit - it's more about branding and engaging your customers and the value comes from the long-tail.

digg | searchmob | sniff it

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