twitter bookmark

Tubemogul: Engagement Comes From Twitter… Search?

Tubemogul just released an interesting case study comparing engagement across top social sites (or more exactly referred by top social sites) on video views.

Viewers referred by Twitter tend to watch a video the longest (one minute, 58 seconds), compared to Facebook (one minute, 14 seconds) and Digg (58 seconds).

Tubemogul’s Marketing Manager David Burch words the hypothesis that since Twitter is an asymetric networking system, followers are more engaged with their tweets, it’s the content they chose to track: « There is already a built-in selection bias« . I would formulate a different hypothesis: Twitter has what the two other social networks don’t: A killing search engine. The search experience is particularly engaging because it mixes live reactions and live trends. Only Twitter provides trends as they happen, which means Twitter is THE place to find the hot stuff on the spot.

Compared to Twitter’s global traffic, the search engine doesn’t seem to popular after all:

But if you watch the growth curve of the search engine alone, it shows an obvious infatuation in traffic:

The activity of the Twitter search engine is so shattered across hundreds of apps that only Twitter’s internal intelligence can count all accumulated search queries, and differentiate a click from a follower and a click from a search query.

tweetbots

Twitter Apps: Twitterfeed vs Tweetbots

When I edited the video How to auto-retweet entries on Twitter, I used Twitterfeed to post tweaked feeds back to Twitter. Unfortunately, I noticed a few days ago that the RSS-to-Twitter service stopped posting tweets on my various profiles. On my dashboard, Twitterfeed was warning me that my feed could not be parsed right. My take on it: Twitterfeed started to block Yahoo! Pipes feeds that seem to originate from Twitter. I see this as a way to keep their service clear of spam, and I understand.

Sidenote – it was funny to notice that for the exact period that my bots were down, the followers’ counter also dropped dead.

My riposte was to turn to Tweetbots. Here is the difference between the two services:

Twitterfeed

Twitterfeed is more geared towards content publishers. The service lets you connect as many feeds as you want to as many accounts as you want. The Website just went through a major design overhaul, and integrated Oauth in the process, something quite annoying if you ask me.

Twitterfeed dashboard feeds

The problem is that if you want to plug two feeds to the same Twitter stream, you need to create two feeds, an inconvenient detail that Tweetbots doesn’t have. In the screenshot above, to the apply 2 feeds to the account ‘xavierv’, I had to create to feed items (‘hyveup’ and ‘screencastpro’).

Twitterfeed dashboard feed details

Twitterfeed gets good when it comes to managing your outgoing feed. You can select to post to a Twitter, Laconica, Ping.fm or Hello txt account. You get to chose how many times the system should ping the RSS server, the number of items it should post for every updates (5 max), it lets you choose your url shortening service (including rev-share url-shorteners like Adjix), you can post a prefix or suffix to mark your feed in your Twitter stream, and apply a filter to the outgoing feed.

Overall, Twitterfeed is a great tool for bloggers looking to auto-update their status with their latest blog post, but as I mentioned above, it can’t handle multiple tasks on multiple accounts. This sets the limit for me.

Tweetbots

Tweetbots is great for online marketers looking to utilize Twitter to extend their communications efforts.

Tweetbots dashboard accounts

Tweetbots lets you easily post to multiple accounts, assign numerous tasks to numerous accounts, and turn on the auto-follow or auto-DM if needed.

Tweetbots dashboard jobs

As you can see, Tweetbots doesn’t use Oauth to identify your accounts (which makes it easier for Web-based multi-accounts management). And you can assign as many feeds as you want to one account.

What Tweetbots desperately misses is a post frequency feature. My feeds generate 5 to 10 items per minute, and Tweetbots posts it all on my accounts, which is way too invasive and unattractive. Tweetbots also doesn’t let you choose a url-shortening service, which would be a logical feature for such a marketing-oriented service.

What both services lack is an interface where users can manage feeds in one dashboard, accounts in another, and simply link feeds to accounts. This way, for example, I won’t have to manually open every account to post a new feed, but I could just link/unlink at my own will.

One last note: Twitterfeed’s Website is always a little slow for me, whereas Tweetbots runs like a charm.

Yahoo

Yahoo! Mail Secondary Email Addresses Rock!

Yahoo

My strategy to create an unlimited amount of accounts on social networks has always been to start from Yahoo! Mail because the service does not require a primary email address to sign you up. Gmail does. And Google Apps don’t seem to like multiple accounts that have the same primary email. However, this technique implied keeping a record of all accounts created on Yahoo, and on Google.

Recently, I came across the secondary email address feature from Yahoo! (maybe I am a little late on this, I can barely find fresh info on this feature). Basically, for 15 euros a year ($21), you pick a prefix for your secondary email address, and you get to create 500 different email addresses starting with this prefix.

Example:
prefix = other
address = yahoo.com
You can create = other-twitter@yahoo.com, other-digg@yahoo.com, other-amazon@yahoo.com…

The purpose of secondary addresses is to let users create a vast number of sub-communication channels with unknown entities (a new social network, a site’s newsletter…), and get the flexibility to block a channel if it starts to deliver spam. This is probably more efficient than a spam filter that sometimes gets it right, sometimes gets it wrong. I like this idea and I wish Google had a similar feature in its Lab.

Lately, I have been experiementing a bit with Twitter and the power of automating retweets. This experiment obviously requires opening several Twitter accounts and find an easy way to manage all the activity from one place. By coupling Topify with the power of secondary email addresses from Yahoo, I have no sweat managing multiple accounts from the same inbox. It’s almost what Seesmic Desktop or Tweetdeck provides, except that it’s in your email inbox (and it’s less complex).

Today, we are in a complete information overload age because we do not know how to control the sudden over-sharing of content via social networks. I found that the best way to control my online social life was to have a powerful email provider that lets me interact with a mutlitude of social platforms from the comfort of my email inbox.

oprah twitter

Oprah Castrates Micro-Celebrities On Twitter, Welcome To Friendfeed

oprah twitter

Today, Oprah is going live on Twitter (my favorite coverage on the Inquisitr). That same day, Ashton Kutcher reaches 1 million users. Oh wait, there was a bug in the system, the whole thing was set up. In other words, a great day for Twitter, but the day that the early-adopters will start to leave the twittershpere for good.

Actually, leaving Twitter is not the right term to use, as passive twittering is always possible (something I have been doing for the past few months). But until recently, tech micro-celebrities were leading the Twitter leaderboard, and this is not the case anymore (scobleizer, 80,000 followers, pfff). No more geek egotrip potential in Twitter, Oprah is bringing the facts back on the table.

Now for us, early party-goers, softcore socialites, the attention is on Friendfeed (well for some of us the attention has been on Friendfeed for quite a while). Friendfeed is a nice getaway from twitter because:

So do you feel castrated by the mainstreamization of Twitter? Then head over to Friendfeed: You’ll find the same robust search features you have on twitter, it’s real-time too, the founders are active users and listeners, and no one bothers to know how many follower you have (I guess only Friendfeed uses that data internally). It’s always better to be a big fish in a small pond, right?

bakertweet

Bakers: Send A Fresh-Off-The-Oven Tweet

bakertweet

French people know it: the bread is better when fresh off the oven. But apparently, British people know better: This London baker has developed a solution for bakers to send a tweet out when their bread just came out the oven.

This is a great idea: I would love to follow my local bakery shop, and be alerted every time a new batch of fresh bread is ready. I won’t go out and buy a loaf systematically, but at least I will buy better-tasting bread more often.

The name of the product is Bakertweet, and here is the demo of how it works (which is dead-simple, thanks to Twitter’s dead-simplicity):

what grinds my gears

Wish Google Reader Were More Like Delicious

what grinds my gears

Like a lot of geeks out there, I love Google Reader, and even more since I have a g1. I keep adding more and more feeds, just to make sure I don’t miss a news item, and it works perfectly fine. There is just one thing that really grinds my gear is Google Reader’s tags and folders management system.

Every time I want to manage my tags, I feel like going back on an Amstrad 464: I have +900 tags, and they are all manageable one-by-one. I couldn’t care less about my tags, except that they are mixed with my folders, and I care about my folders. Today, I decided to do a little spring cleaning. I backed up my feeds, erased them from the reader, and erased all my tags… hem, tried. ‘Ooops’, says Google Reader when I select all my private tags to erase them, ‘an error occurred. Please try again in a few seconds’. You can wait all the seconds you want, it just doesn’t work.

I’m not the kind to give up, so I started to delete tags by bundles of 10. After 300 tags deleted, the same error message started to appear again. And now I just can’t delete one single tag anymore. Long story short: Why can’t Google Reader be more like Delicious? Why is the tag/folder management process so archaic? When the Google Reader team announced the launch of comment threads in the reader, this user rightfully complained about the total lack of development prioritization the Greader dev team is showing.

I am now going to re-import my feeds, in a reader that has 600 stand-alone tags. That doesn’t make sense. I created a discussion around this weakness, and I hope it will be fixed pretty soon. Please, Google Reader dev team, make the tag/folder system more like Delicious, where tags can be renamed, deleted, bundled, and so on. You would kick Yahoo’s ass right there!

youtube binders

How To Set Up Your Youtube Channel For Your Business

youtube binders

UPDATE: This article gets a lot of good karma, but unfortunately, since Youtube launched their new channels, a lot of the tips below are not up-to-date anymore. Thank you for visiting though :)

When I started out with Youtube a few years ago, I didn’t really care about the look of my Youtube channel. All I really needed was a tool to upload videos to the Web for free. I would grab the embed code, and insert it in my blog, where I was more concerned about design issues. Today, things have changed. I am more concerned about the look of my channel, as well as how my videos are organized.

Why Care about your Youtube look?

In 2008, a lot of things happened in Youtube. Here are the main changes:

  • Major site re-design

  • Faster cached memories
  • Adsense integration
  • Became 2nd/3rd most popular search engine
  • Integrated annotations and insight
  • Major cleaning of illegal content

All those changes bought Youtube its place as the leader in the UGC video space for the next 5 years to come… At least. This means Youtube is not a rusty Google acquisition anymore. To my opinion, it is the most powerful social media tool online today. Twitter is just a sidekick. Thanks to Youtube’s new skin, you can now consider the video giant as a serious marketing tool for your business.

How to set up your Youtube Channel

If you haven’t created one yet, choose the best name possible for the channel (your business name if possible). Fill out your profile: A lot of info is good for Youtube indexation purposes, but not so good for your visitors. I recommend a metadata philosophy of one sentence that summarizes it all.

Go to the ‘edit channel’ part: The background color should be your company’s brand color. You will want to create a banner to personalize your channel. I recommend creating a banner which background color is the same as my channel background color. What you do not want to do is to create an image that is the size of the homepage, as:

  1. Depending on screen resolutions, visitors will see just half of it, or it will be cut and the background color will mess everything up, and

  2. it’s longer to load. Also, Youtube centers its background image, so work with this in mind.

    The rest of the channel style customization is a work of going back and forth until you find the right style for your page. For the feature video of your homepage, you have to choose between your latest uploaded video, or a specific video. That is really up to you and your strategy: Are you creating videos to lead people to your channel (then set a specific video as the feature vid), or are you just using Youtube as a video host (then set latest video as feature vid).

    Also, in the customization part of the homepage, as a business, I think you shouldn’t care about showing off your friends, subscribers and subscriptions. I recommend taking those boxes away. You’ll save real estate and create more attention around your content.

    youtube playlists

    One of Youtube’s most powerful assets for its users are playlists: As a video producers, as you can see above, I have create different types of videos. Thanks to playlist, which are basically folders for your media, I can organize my content in a way that makes sense for my work, and most importantly, display only the playlists which contain the videos I want to show off. For example, whenever I edit a video interview, there is always a chunk of the interview that is both very interesting and not related to the rest of the video. I render this isolated content, upload it, and share it on my blog. I am not really interested in showing this video on my channel, so I put it in the ‘interview snapshot’ playlist, which doesn’t appear on my channel.

    Another example: I created a video for a client who posted it on his own Youtube channel. Great stuff! I was able to take this video and put it in my ‘professional work’ folder, even though I didn’t upload it to Youtube. Playlists are a much richer way for visitors to understand who you are as a video creator.

    On my channel, I left the favorites box, to show visitors that I am also a user of Youtube, and not just a passive marketer.

    There are two more things that make your channel look better: A high number of channel views, and a high number of video views. For the channel views, I have about 5,000. Believe me, that is good compared to the traffic that Youtube is sending on my channel. The problem I have with my videos is that they are tailored for a niche: Only a fragment of that niche finds my videos, and only a fragment of that fragment follows the trail back to my Youtube channel. In other words, I have a low visit potential to my channel. Even though I this is reality, I do not want others to see it this way, so I inflate the visits on my channel.

    Same with videos: Nobody likes to watch a video that nobody else saw. There are ways to inflate your video views. It really is a cute little hack, nothing too disruptive, but it’s good to know when you want to jump-start views a little.

    I won’t share here how to inflate video views. It is something I reserve for my clients, and I use it in a very moderate way. It’s the same scenario as restaurant managers who ask their employees to sit at the window tables and pretend they are customers to show passers-by that people eat there. It generates trust. Youtube is no fool: This trick only allows you to inflate the views counter, but in no way it cheats Youtube’s popularity algo.

netvibes

Will Netvibes Widgetize Businesses Online? – Freddy Mini, CEO

Before meeting Freddy Mini, CEO of Netvibes, I thought that Netvibes was a fancy feed reader. At least that was what I got out of the service when I tried it out a few months (years?) back. Now I understand why Netvibes is so much more than that, and hopefully, after reading this article/watching this video, you will understand it too (if you don’t already).

Netvibes.com is like an iGoogle, i.e. a customizable Web portal. Netvibes main difference with iGoogle is that:

  1. It is not Google

  2. It allows many more customization features: page title, colors, choice of search engine, choice o f widgets, widget customization, tab customization…

netvibes

To add content to my page, a smart wizard can kick things of by asking me a few questions about my interests, or I can browse the Netvibes’ widget directory, which contains almost 200,000 widgets. Some widgets are feeds form popular Websites such as Techcrunch, the NYT, the WashPost and so on, but other widgets are my gmail inbox, Twitter stream, Facebook profile. Once I install those widgets, I just sign in, and I am in permanent contact with all my contacts across all social networks.

That was part 1 of Netvibes. Now if you go to eco.netvibes.com, you cann search for widgets, and you can create widgets. I created the HyveUp widget for example, that I can post on my blog, and submit it to the Netvibes directory for others to find it.

As a publisher, it is in my interest to seek a wider distribution outlet for my content. However, out of the 200,000 widgets in the Netvibes directory, chances are I will be the only one who will have my widget installed on my homepage. This is where Netvibes created a first revenue stream. I can pay (on a CPI basis – cost per install) to appear on top of search results in the Netvibes directory of widgets. Freddy Mini reveals in the video how much is the price for this premium placement opportunity. With Netvibes, you do not pay for clicks, you pay for readers.

While this is all very interesting and smart, this is just the tip of the Netvibes’ iceberg.

Netvibes nurtures the belief that personalization is the starting point of engagement, and offers its engagement technology to brands. The Premium Universe product is an opportunity for any company to re-create the Netvibes experience on their homepage. An example of this is The Daily Influence, a Ogilvy Website with a Netvibes interface. Let’s say I like the Daily Influence (which I do), I can sign in with my Netvibes credentials, and start personalizing the homepage my own way. Or I can grab the widgets I like and put them in my personal Netvibes page.

In other words, I am now in full control of my Web experience.

For Ogilvy, using Netvibes really is just a branding operation (and maybe they control the content in some of those widgets). But what if Bank Of America’s homepage was powered by Netvibes? What if I could go to BofA’s Website, grab my account’s widget, and stick it in my personal homepage? Well technically, it is possible: Netvibes’ second product for businesses is Netvibes for Enterprise, a behind-the-firewall software that could enable BofA to pull its data from its servers and serve it Netvibes-style to its customers.

Of course, the BofA story is a fictional scenario… But it makes an awful lot of sense. One thing is worth mentioning that makes Netvibes’ widget distribution model more solid: a Netvibes’ widget is compatible with Apple’s dashboard, iGoogle, Opera, Windows Vista and Windows Live. Netvibes doesn’t want to be the unique widget-builder out there. Netvibes wants to be the gateway for companies to widgetize their business.

Spam

Microsoft Promotes Live With Spambots

SpamThe Getclicky Blog reports that Live Search has been swelling up its importance as a search referrer through a spam bot:<

what it does is pretend that it’s a person and spams your sites with tons of hits and fake searches.

Just follow the link to Getclicky’s Blog to see a screenshot of the spammed traffic report.<

I am actually very surprised that such a big name in the industry would use such an obvious spamming method. This is such a risk in terms of brand reputation, I don’t see how it can even be tolerated. I guess some execs thought it would push site owners to consider Live Search as a growing referrer, which would in turn push them to include more of Live Search in their paid search strategy.

rss email

RSS Feeds To Your Email Inbox

rss email

  • Feedmyinbox: Enter a URL, an email address, and voila. Simplicity to its best. You can create an account and manage your incoming feeds too. Feedmyinbox’ inconvenience is the lagging time between the time a post is published and the time it lands in your inbox: Sometimes it may take up to 24-48 hours. Usually, the discussion around a post is already dead by then.
  • Notify.me: Notify.me can be used in a number of ways, but it is my preferred tool to be notified of new posts on sites I find important to follow. In notify.me dashboard, specify all the sources you wish to receive in your inbox, and it will send it to you. Notify.me is way faster than Feedmyinbox, but it will only send you the first paragraph of a post. I personally don’t mind it, but maybe you will.
  • Feedburner: Feedburner lets you burn any feed you wish. Therefore, just burn the feed you wish to receive in your inbox, and use the email update feature to have this feed sent to your inbox. The process is much longer than Feedmyinbox, but if you are into a little RSS-to-email hacking plan, then Feedburner’s robust RSS technology could be a good friend.
  • Yahoo Pipes: Again, a little like Feedburner, setting up Yahoo pipes to send you RSS updates to your inbox will take a little more time than Feedmyinbox. But just like Feedburner, if you are into a little feed tweaking, then Yahoo Pipes is definitely your best choice!

I think the best option out there used to be RSSFWD, but alas, it is no longer in service. I guess it was too good to be true. Know any other service? Please share in the comments.