Posts filed under ‘Widet Review’

Gary Busey(isms) in a Widget

If the future of viral marketing takes the form of a widget I was recently informed about titled, Gary Busey on Business, then please take me back to the days when print, radio and TV ads were king. The widget, part of a viral marketing campaign for VOIP small business provider GotVMail, points to a larger trend in online celebrity endorsements, while leveraging SplashCast’s widget platform.

With a half-nod to the Chuck Norrisisms that spread faster across the net than a jar of Skippy, the former Buddy Holly impersonator seems to be getting the first and last laugh, which seems to elude his audience.  Designed by social media agency StepChange Group, with the exception of a GotVMail song, Gary Busy doesn’t overtly promote the sponsor, as try to create a viral sensation.  The affect, however, is that of a forced, poorly delivered diatribe on all things Busey.  All that’s needed is a laugh track, because no one is dumb enough to actually laugh at Busey’s monologues.

For all Busey fans in Web 2.0 land, and I’m not sure if anyone fits within this category, after seeing this material, then the widget is a perfect way to get a daily dose of the big toothed man himself.  And, if by chance, GotVMail were to get some additional phone business as a result, then who can argue with the new face of interactive marketing.  But, if a Busey makes a noise in the forrest and no one installs it, then is it a successful social media campaign, or just another asshole sounding off in the digital ether.

Gary Busey spuing his business acumen

Gary Busey spuing his business acumen

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August 28, 2008 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

Mama Mia, That’s a Spicy Pappa John’s Widget

As a New Yorker, I feel entitled to be a pizza snob.  After all, outside of Naples, NYC lays claim to being home to the best pizza.   Now, I’m not going to argue with you as to which is the best, Brooklyn’s Di Farra’s, Harlem’s Patsy’s (Frank Sinatra’s Favorite, just don’t tell the Patsy’s in mid-town, who’s in litigation over which restaurant can lay claim to that), downtown’s John’s Pizza, or the Bronx’s Baby Moon.  In my opinion, all can go head-to-head against the town favorite in any town USA and win hands down.

Now, you may be thinking what does pizza have to do with social media marketing, which is, after all the focus of this blog.  Or, did I go to the Slice section of the Serious Eats blog instead?

Well, the good people at Pappa John’s has combined two of my favorite things, pizza delivery and widgets, to bring America’s most consumed take-out food to a social networking profile near you.  It offers a store locator and links you thru to the site where you can order.  Special discounts provide an additional incentive.  A good first-step in widgetizing commerce.  This is the first pizza delivery widget I’ve seen.  It’s not the most visually-appealing widget, but it does its job.  Take that Domino’s.

May 20, 2008 at 9:37 pm Leave a comment

Pogo + Facebook = Cafe.com

After two years of development, the people behind leading casual games distributor Boonty have just launched Cafe.com.  With an impressive array of casual games,  from single player up to six people., the games stand out from the myriad of free online gaming sites.

Cafe.com home page

But what’s truly impressive is Cafe’s Web 2.0 social networking features and micro-transaction-based business model.  Think Pogo on steroids. This represents the future of social gaming.

Author’s note,  I’ve previously served as CMO for Boonty, Inc., and am presently involved with the launch of Cafe.com.

April 4, 2008 at 10:01 pm Leave a comment

Nexus – Understanding The Ties That Bind Us

Nexus LogoWhat if you could map your friends and family inter-relationships and gain insights into the commonalities that exist within the overlapping networks? If you’re on Facebook, you can with a nifty application called Nexus.

Nexus creates an interactive image displaying the friendship links and shared interests of your friends. Roll your mouse over the dots that represent your friends and get a side bar view of their profile, complete with Facebook picture and common friends and interests.

Here’s a picture of my Nexus map:

Rich’s social network of friends

When we look at our relationships in relation to one another, some interesting patterns emerge. As circles overlap and friendships intersect with interests, I’m reminded by something my father use to say, “the company you keep says as much about yourself as it does about your friends.”

Nexus allows you to map your corner of the world and make sense out of who you are.

April 1, 2008 at 2:44 am 1 comment

11 Must-Have Facebook Apps For Your Business

facebook handshake Since facebook launched its business pages earlier this year, there has been a proliferation of applications geared to the business user. In fact, the facebook applications directory lists more than 800 business applications at last glance. With so much free software just a click away, it’s hard to know the must-have, time-saving, money-making, productivity increasing apps for your facebook business presence.

So, to help you narrow down the selection and make sense of a difficult-to-navigate widget directory, we took some time to review our share of embedded facebook programs and have selected the ten apps (in no particular order) for your company page:

Static FBML

While facebook Pages are limited in terms of design customization, you can add the Static FBML application to any Page to integrate HTML directly on the page. This application, developed internally, allows you to renter HTML or FBML (Facebook Markup Language) within a box for enhanced Page customization and added functionality.

FlashPlay

Similarly, if you’re looking to add some more flash to your page, and by that I mean Flash movies, animations, scripts, etc., FlashPlay allows you to add any flash file to your company page, visible to everyone. You may also browse their library to find a selection of popular games, animations and applications to add with the click of your mouse.

XING

Far more than a directory of business contacts, XING enables its members to discover professional people, opportunities and privileges through its unique discovery capability and advanced contact management tools. The company recently had a successful IPO and has had a long-term impact on the social networking trend amongst professionals. By focusing on the target group “business people worldwide”, the company is able to offer tailored features, thereby making networking and contact management simpler.

MyOffice

Ideal for teams spread out across different offices, MyOffice helps you manage your project or business with a collaborative suite of tools. Schedule meetings with your team or group, organize an event, discuss ideas, share files, create to do lists, collaborate on docs and whiteboards, and assign tasks to increase productivity. MyOffice lets you quickly and easily collaborate with your colleagues, partners, or clients.

Tag Biz Pro Business Cards

picture-2.png

Business card applications are fairly common on Facebook these days. But Tag Biz Pro stands out from the pack with a realistic index card design and a bunch of networking features built in. The application allows you to

* create a Business Card and customize it
* attach your Business Card to Facebook messages
* browse other cards and read comments
* let others know what you are looking for

Anyone who is interested in doing business on Facebook should use tag biz pro. tag biz pro automates the relationship networking and referral process by placing a custom business keyword tag cloud on your Facebook profile and on the Facebook profiles of your friends that are participating in your business network. Pick your keywords, invite your friends and build your own business network with tag biz pro.

MyMoney

Manage your finances right from your Facebook profile, simply and securely! MyMoney is an online home banking application that interacts with a variety of financial institutions, so you can view your account balances, transfer money between accounts, review histories, and much more. Plus, MyMoney uses multiple layers of security, so that you, and only you, can access your account.

With MyMoney, you know instantly how much you have to spend on gifts, go shopping at the marketplace, and more! To get started, just click the “Add Application” button and search for your financial institution. Don’t see it listed? Enroll online for one that is, or send a note to request your bank or credit union to join! It’s that simple.

Huddles Workspaces

Although you can’t add it to your business profile yet, Huddles Workspaces allow you to store personal documents and share them with specific groups of friends. Up to 1Gb of free space, Huddle offers a collaborative approach to organizing and sharing files.

From the great minds at Techlightenment (the developers that brought us Bob Dylan’s Subtaranean Blues widget), Huddle also interfaces with people outside of Facebook, making it a truly utilitarian work collaboration application.

what.io
Another great application not yet available for business pages, what.io allows you to quickly save your IOUs. When installed, the IOUs are displayed as post-it notes on your profile. Print IOU certificates. Share with friends and don’t forget that road fin you loaned your buddy on your last road trip to Vegas. The service works easily with friends who are not yet on Facebook, via their email address.

PRX Builder

Based on the original Social Media Press Release Template from Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications, PRX Builder helps you easily create the next generation of press releases. Enhance your press release with new media elements such as links, multimedia, and social media service buttons for digg and del.icio.us. Automatically add Technorati tags and then distribute your release through PR Newswire. The service also optimizes your releases for higher visibility within Technorati and Google Blog Search. You can even moderate any comments your SMPR may receive. RSS and email subscription options make this an invaluable tool for companies looking to get the word out. And the best part is, the service is free.

Page Maps

Ideal for companies with a physical presence, Page Maps allows you to add a custom map to your business page or personal profile. Show your business locations or favorite spots around town. It displays a mini map requiring no additional clicks to see, and links to a larger map or directions.

Phonebook

How many times have you been asked for a contact by one of your co-workers. Phonebook allows you to share your rollodex in a secure environment. You can also attach emails and notes to contacts, back up your list and exchange/compare with your associates. Maybe now your staff won’t call you at 9:00 in the morning next time they can’t find a number and you’re away on vacation.

March 10, 2008 at 9:16 am 1 comment

Hey EA – Welcome to the Widget Game

Pogo LogoIt wasn’t too long ago that video game publishers and developers looked down on online gaming. Considered too low-brow for the big production focused studios, online games were like the bastard step child nobody wanted to recognize as part of the family.

I know the shame of being the unwanted sibling only too well, having traveled to EA’s Cupertino headquarters in 1999 on acquisition talks representing Kasparov Chess Online, Kasparov Chess logoone of the largest online chess networks. Company chairman Garry Kasparov was, and still remains, the most recognized name in chess. A brand onto himself, Mr. Kasparov is as saavy a businessman as he is at chess. KCF offered players of all levels a free chess gaming platform from which to challenge, play and chat with one another, maintain a chess rating (the equivalent of crack for chess players) and read daily chess news. We also sold chess-related merchandise and subscription-based Master class downloads – rather revolutionary for the day. Back in those days, we called it the 4C’s – competition, community, content and commerce.

If only we would had been better futurists and called it “social gaming,” it would still be in business today. Those discussions with EA never went very far, but I’d like to believe that it helped them realize the potential. Several months later, EA acquired Pogo, the largest independent gaming network at the time. And, as all things must end, Kasparov’s 20+ year reign as world chess champion ended, and so did Kasparov Chess Online, unable to ride out the great bubble burst of 2000, as it’s now known as. EA went onto grow Pogo’s audience, while diversifying its revenue streams.  And Kasparov went onto challenge Putin in the Russian elections.  We all know how that will turn out.

So when EA/Pogo announced a new Facebook widget for Pogo members, I was intrigued. After all, Pogo was all about social gaming, even before the term became the winner of the Most Repeated Buzz Phrase at the recent 2008 Gamers Developer Conference (GDC), in San Fran. Had they started to spread their tentacles to harness Facebook’s social graph?

Pogo Gaming Widget for Facebook

Well, yes and no. While the widget allows Pogo subscribers (read: paid members) to display their profile information, avatar and point totals, receive Pogo-related news, and link back to Pogo for a few selected games, it falls short in leveraging Facebook’s viral strengths.

First, all users must be registered Pogo members. Not sure what the overlap is between Facebook and Pogo members, but since Pogo targets women over 35, while Facebook reaches a decidly different audience, I don’t expect much crossover between the two.

Secondly, all games simply link back to the Pogo hub. There is no game integration within Facebook. Ah, the old hub-and-spoke strategy feels more like the bait and switch made popular at consumer retailers like The Wiz.

Is EA just clinging to the old and familiar business model they’ve groomed so nicely since the Pogo acquisition? Or is there simply a disconnect between the old guard and the new — the centralized web vs. distributed networks?

Maybe the new social network-centric gaming companies like SGN and Zynga know something that the executives at Pogo have yet to figure out. Let me give them a hint — Facebook gamers want to play in their own backyard, not a click away in someone else’s playground. Maybe it’s the old Groucho Marx joke, “I would never want to be a member of a club that would have me as a member.”

Pogo Facebook Widget

Note to self: Remove Pogo Widget from my Facebook Profile.

February 29, 2008 at 3:20 am Leave a comment

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