Tag Archives: monetization

How Much Are Your Social Media Efforts Worth?

Everyone’s on Facebook (even my parents).  You’ve got to have blog (even if no one reads it).  How many tweets did you send today (3-so far, but I’ve had meetings all morning)?  Social media is a buzzin’ (still) and will be for the foreseable future.  Businesses all know that they’ve got to be in this space, but many do not know why?  Furthermore, most businesses do not know whether they are succeeding.

Heather Holdrige posted a great blog on Frogloop.com about the return on investment in social media for businesses.  Her post went   into an overview of social media growth (“(NYT reported last week that time spent on social networks has exceeded that of email)”  and then discussed the metrics for social media success developed at the Women Who Tech TeleSummit, where she was a recent panel speaker on the topic. 

This chart that she posted shows a great quick reference guide to whether your social media efforts are working: 

How are you measuring your social media success?



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Fire that Blogger!

“I’ve been reading your blog,” Mom said. 

“That’s great,” I said.

“Do other people read it,” she asked.  With her recent readership, I think I was up to five or six regular readers – not the New York Times, but exciting none-the-less.  I told her this, and she asked the proverbial parental question: “if there aren’t a lot of people reading and you aren’t making any money, why do you write it?”

I went onto explain how the pure joy of writing, sharing my opinion with the world, on a blogging platform that has the potential to reach anyone who cares to read it is an exciting and worthwhile thing.  To me, it makes no difference whether anyone reads it.  Sure, I’d love to have a Huffington Post-sized following, but at the very least this is great practice for my writing. 

“But doesn’t your boss mind that you post these at work?  Can he fire you for that?”  A shot of fear went through me for an instant: post at work?  I usually write my blog posts at night or on lunch.  Sometimes I edit them and post at work, but that shouldn’t raise flags.   After checking my settings on Wordpress I saw that my time stamps put my posts almost 7-hours in the future from the time I actually post them, and the fact that I can write something at anytime with a time stamp in the future, present, or past further diffuses any argument for firing.  Luckily, my blogging has been supported by my company – many of my posts are about e-content and publishing, some posts have even been repurposed on their main websites.    

I reassured Mom that the publishing of my posts during “work hours” didn’t concern my boss, but the question got me thinking: who has been fired for blogging?  These 7-famous firings of bloggers are well known, but do you know anyone fired for blogging?

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Libraries of the Future Lend Kindle Titles and Devices

Library Journal posted an article about the mixed response from Amazon over whether a library can lend a Kindle device with books loaded onto it.  An Amazon sales rep said “yes,” Amazon officials said “no,” but the law may say otherwise.

The first sale doctrine is a copyright defense, codified in 17 USC 109, which basically allows an owner of a lawfully made copy or phonorecord (and other tangible media) to sell or otherwise dispose of it, as well as display it to the public.   This allows purchasers of a video game, DVD, or other medium to sell it on e-Bay or to a GameStop.  Software companies (and others) try to circumvent this defense by describing the purchase of their products as a “license” rather than a “sale” issuing license agreements and terms of use (“LATU”) to prevent resale of an item, but courts have disagreed with their enforceability.

In Amazon’s LATU there are explicit terms about the digital content on the device, but not the physical device itself.  The language from Section 3, Digital Content reads as follows (emphasis added):

Use of Digital Content. Upon your payment of the applicable fees set by Amazon, Amazon grants you the non-exclusive right to keep a permanent copy of the applicable Digital Content and to view, use, and display such Digital Content an unlimited number of times, solely on the Device or as authorized by Amazon as part of the Service and solely for your personal, non-commercial use. Digital Content will be deemed licensed to you by Amazon under this Agreement unless otherwise expressly provided by Amazon.

This language speaks to the digital content – not the device.  Amazon understands that the first-sale doctrine clearly prevents them from restricting transfer of the device, but that the gray area of the license agreements allows them some latitude here.  When drafted, Amazon likely sought to prevent a Napster situation, with users trading titles and diluting the market for content.

Now the idea of public libraries owning and lending Kindle devices is a great one.  It has the potential to create a revolution in e-Books and catapult Kindle to the status of an iPod – it can very well be the paradigm shift Amazon is banking on.  In fact, it seems like a win/win for Amazon: more public exposure to Kindle = more sales of device and content, and by putting the devices in libraries Amazon breaks through the tek-elite barrier.  I have yet to purchase or play with a Kindle b/c of the high price point and unavailability despite being an early adopter (when I have the cash for it).

But take it a step further: what if there were ways to ensure that a library could “lend” a Kindle file and then have it “returned” by the borrower?

Amazon would sell catalogs of titles to the 123,000 libraries in the United States (mix of public, school, governmental, etc.).  Those libraries would have tables of Kindle devices set up for public use (more device sales for Amazon).  They would offer file borrowing via library websites or even in the physical building (beaming or loading via docking station).  The file would have copy prevention and device tracking enabled.  It could also work like digital download rentals, which expire after a certain period of time.  If a person wanted to prevent expiration they could request an extra period of time with it, but longer than that they pay a small fee (digital late fees).  A user who likes the book so much can click to purchase from the library.  The library would make money (via the first sale doctrine) on that legally purchased copy, and can automatically order another copy from Amazon to keep their “stock” current.  Not to mention, this would allow Amazon to target users for direct sales based on their borrowing habits. This could be the future – much like the ELF’s idea for “collecting societies” of digital recordings.

Amazon, think about it – do you want to clutch to an old-world model, or do you want to build something better than iTunes?


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Making Money in Social Media?

I used to belong to a great little community called PGL (pregame lobby).  As a discussion site for gamers, PGL does a good job of providing a place to find a Halo pick up game, drool over the latest XBox 360 release, and meet like-minded adults who love interactive entertainment.  Site users can advance to different levels on their profile depending on how many posts they have written, (ex/ in the lobby, on the couch, in the VIP lounge, etc.).  Started by my co-worker and some of his friends, PGL grew to over 400 members before needing a new server to handle the traffic.

The site had a stickiness to it that made it fun to connect.  But one thing that I am not sure PGL ever did was make money.  They had ad space, but I am not sure if it paid space or just populated by friends.  People would plug their online business or sell swag with the PGL logo, but as an enterprise it never reached the epic proportions that social media has the potential of reaching.

An article on Content Nation asks this very question: “where is the money in social media?”  It says that a site like Facebook, which pulls in $450 million per year is small potatoes compared Yahoo’s $7 billion per year.   Despite the seeming disparity, author John Blossom says that there is money in social media, which can be found in “building relationships that develop social transactions which in turn build into largely pre-sold transactions for goods and services.”

The monetization focus in social media has focused on advertising, which Blossom says has it’s place when endorsements are built based on real relationships,  but he says “the essence of advertising is self-promotion in contexts that the advertiser doesn’t own.”  Namely, the advertiser must give up control and let the community grow.  Nothing strangles organic growth better than being smothered (see failed relationships…).  Blossom gives the example of a good, organic consumer relationship by citing story of the Grateful Dead.  The Dead encouraged their fans to tape their concerts and share them with each other (in direct violation of copyright) so that a community could (pardon the pun) blossom around the music.

It worked for The Dead and it could work for content providers, if they trust their consumers enough to let the magic happen.  A last quotation from Blossom, “Where is the money on social media? It’s right at the tips of our fingers as each and every one of us becomes empowered to market ourselves and to build our personal brands.”

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