Archive for the ‘launch’ Category

Profiling Canadian Start-Ups

Friday, May 25th, 2007

It can be tough to get PR on the web - especially if you’re a Canadian start-up. I know this from personal experience. I’ve worked or consulted for several Canadian start-ups. Residing in Victoria, BC, I can understand that Canada isn’t exactly Silicon Valley. But this great country should not be overlooked when it comes to new technology. Numerous successful web 2.0 ventures can trace their roots back to Canada.

For this very reason, I am excited when new, Canadian technology blogs sprout up. A recent entrant into the space, StartUpNorth, is looking to put the spotlight on little-known Canadian start-ups. This should help shine some light on entrepreneurial ventures of the North. Having said that, it is not the first of its kind. Other popular Canadian technology blogs that profile start-ups include Maple Leaf 2.0 and Mathew Ingram’s blog. I highly recommend both. Add them to your RSS reader.

MappingTheWeb also profiles Canadian start-ups from time to time.

The point is that new blogs or entrants in the space should not be considered competition, but rather added coverage and exposure for the Canadian tech industry. This benefits us all and solidifies Canada’s reputation for innovation on the web.

Watch out Silicon Valley… Beware the black sheep of the Internet…

Facebook Classifieds- The GOOD and the BAD

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Facebook new logoLast week, Facebook launched an internal classified ad system. All new listings are free. For this reason, the launch appears to be more a marketing avenue than a revenue stream. Posting a new listing is extremely simple. The inteface is intuitive to the point that my 5 year old cousin could use it. As is the case with any newspaper classified ads, the major categories include:

  • Jobs
  • Housing
  • For Sale

Using the system, you can view your listings, as well as your friends. In addition, you can also list things you want - like a reverse marketplace.

At first glance, my initial thought was… Aha, another Craigslist competitor. But upon further analysis, I do not think this is the class. Facebook is STILL a social network at its core. This new launch simply provides a value-added service to the main offering. On the other hand, Craigslist IS a classified ad system and although community plays a huge role on the site, many users prefer to remain anonymous and avoid the social features.

Another major difference is around the actual posting process. With Craigslist, a poster can remain anonymous and there is no need to register. Whereas with Facebook, an account must be registered. This is much more of a barrier to entry for some.

In any case, I see some definite advantages and some small disadvantages (or short-comings) to this new Facebook offering. First of all, the “For Sale” section is ingenious. Students/young adults are always buying and selling textbooks, furniture, bikes, electronics, etc… For this reason, there is a stunning value proposition. There is also a case to be made for the “Housing” section as well. This demographic is akin to living with others and is usually frequently on the move. Therefore, creating a strong communication tool to facilitate the process is powerful.

Where I see short-comings is in the “Jobs” section, and to some degree, the “Housing” section. As we all know very well, the Facebook demographic is young for the most part. Having said that, most employers or company executives tend to be of an older age bracket. There is some incongruence here. Most of the employers looking to hire students and/or young adults will not possess a Facebook account, nor will they want to have to go through the steps. This is of my opinion. Some call this added security or an extra layer of protection that Craigslist does not have. I call it a barrier to entry.

Furthermore, the same can be said for many potential landlords looking to rent their places. Facebook needs to streamline a process for these individuals to quickly and easily post listings without a registration. Otherwise, these potential posters may be missing out on a huge market and Facebook users may be missing out on potential job opportunities or housing.

Google Launches iGoogle - No, It’s Not an Apple Thing…

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

iGoogle logoLast week, Google officially launched iGoogle. This is nothing overly dramatic. It was a simple rebrand of the old Google IG with some added features, including comprehensive widget support. Google is looking to make a splash in the personalized, AJAX homepage space, which is dominated by such players as Yahoo, Netvibes, and Pageflakes.

What intrigues me the most is the new name… iGoogle. Of all the names Google could have chosen, they went the ‘Apple route’ and chose to throw an “i” in front of their brand. A smart move? Or a blatant attempt at jumping on the bandwagon? Who knows… but don’t tell me they hadn’t thought of the potential consequences or discussions that would come about before choosing the name.

I will say that placing an “i” before any word or name has been around on the net for quite some time. In these cases, the “i” was meant to signify “Internet”. But nowadays, everyone attributes the “i” to Apple products such as the iPod or iPhone (lawsuits aside).

Is Google looking to cause a stir and build PR? Is the “i” simply meant to convey the idea of a personalized page? Am I entirely crazy and this post is a waste of time? Any one of these may be plausible. But I would never underestimate or overlook the foresight of this search engine powerhouse.

Blogs and Elections

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Is there any significance between blogs and elections? Maybe not in the past, but I would wager that blogs will play an important role in future elections and politics in general. Having said that, the upcoming U.S. presidential election comes to mind. Candidates who choose to leverage blogs may be at an advantage. Those who choose to ignore this communication vehicle may find themselves behind in the polls come election day.

I had the pleasure of listening to John Edwards’s keynote speech at Gnomedex 2006. He spoke about the future of politics and how the Internet/blogs/podcasting will play a huge role in democracy. Edwards expressed a deep interest in podcasting. He said it would play a vital role in his campaign. Furthermore, Edwards has become known as a Twitter power user. Now, I am a huge advocate of the use of blogs, podcasting, and the Internet in general. But my concern is this: are politicians simply ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ with respect to these technologies? Are they simply trying to appeal to a new (perhaps younger) crowd? Or do they truly believe in the technology and the power that it instills? My hope is obviously the latter of the three.

Having said that, I do believe that blogs can play a siginificant role and have a huge impact if used sincerely and strategically. A full developed campaign, with open communication and a strong support team, can make huge strides on the net and produce exponential effects given the resources at hand. The breadth and leverage of the web cannot be ignored.

Many of the most popular and highest traffic blogs on the net are U.S. political blogs. These sites attract millions of visitors every day. Should a candidate successfully tap these online strongholds, their campaigns would immediately be given a boost. Dissemination of information and PR are two major advantages to any front-runner who succeeds at forging relationships with these online political powerhouses.

Stepping back a bit, the success of the candidate must lie in their platform and their presence. No Internet technology can make up for these important characteristics. Even if a candidate does outline a strong platform, my guess is that the Internet and blogs will sway elections in the future and play a bigger role in politics than people currently realize.

Internet Marketing

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Internet marketing means different things to different people. I like to use my own simple definition: the purpose of Internet marketing is to increase brand exposure and drive traffic to a given web property. Wikipedia takes on a different angle and defines Internet marketing as “the use of the Internet to advertise and sell goods and services”. I’m not sure I agree with this, but there is one thing I think we can all agree on. There isn’t ONE way to market or sell a service online. A comprehensive, well-planned campaign is necessary for success.

Why do I say that?

Well, as an Internet marketing & strategy consultant, I come across clients who want to specifically leverage one type of Internet marketing vehicle to promote their site. Whether it be SEO, pay-per-click, or e-mail marketing, the client is set on one method and their vision is narrow. Surprisingly enough to them, the strategy they are set on using is not always the best choice. Furthermore, a true campaign encompasses different strategies.

At the end of the day, increasing brand exposure and driving qualified traffic are the main goals. It doesn’t matter how this is accomplished. SEO, link building, affiliate marketing, e-mail campaigns, PPC, and advertising are all great, but the goals and milestones of the company must be outlined. From there, an online strategy can be set forth.

Add to that the fact that some techniques, such as link building, have two-fold effects. Not only does link building provide much needed SEO juice, but it also drives direct traffic via the link itself. Killing two birds with one stone is always a plus.

Companies and clients alike need to be open-minded when it comes to marketing on the web. There isn’t a single solution. Innovation, creativity, a well-developed plan, and solid execution are the key points to a successful campaign online.