Tag Archive | facebook

The Problem with Twitter – Social Disconnection by Stealth

tl;dr Twenty new Twitter followers in a week but a fall in our net position. Should social media sites allow users to end connections by stealth? Is Twitter the new watering hole for scammers and opportunists?

Introduction

Before we begin, we need to make it clear we like Twitter. It has created a simple tool to connect millions of people. It has built a diverse network that has changed the way many of us communicate and opened up new possibilities for others. Various recent uprisings around the world have demonstrated the strength of mass electronic communication.

However one of our biggest gripes with Twitter is the following functionality, or more so the unfollowing functionality. We frequently receive follow email notifications telling us we have gained new followers. This is great however in the past few months we have lost our trust in these notifications.

This week we received approximately 20 new follower notifications. Awesome, new followers to interact with. In reality our net position fell. Many of these followers are no longer following us. Twitter is not alone here.

Why? What is going on here? Is being unable to break a social media connection by stealth a good thing?

Reasons for Breaking Up (Intentional or Unintentional)

Not all break ups may be intentional. However it feels like too many are trying to lure us in for a unbalanced relationship.

+ Spammers: Social media sites have been plagued by spam and dummy accounts looking to leverage large networks of followers. Twitter appears to be more aggressively pursuing such accounts and deactivating accounts as they appear. Therefore many new followers are likely very soon to become dormant.

+ Tools: With the increase of social media options, various tools have been made available to manage your accounts. Algorithms help you follow and unfollow other users, tailoring your network to your interests. The problem is that a button click may radically modify your network. In one click you start following 100 people, then in the next click you have mistakenly unfollowed the same 100 users.

+ Ratio: The desire may be for users looking to achieve the perfect ratio of “followers to followings”. They use a false connection request to lure in new followers, while unscrupulously maintaining a low following figure. This may have financial value for those looking to sell such accounts.

+ Mistake: Twitter makes it remarkably easy to follow/unfollow users (in error). It is not always clear that a single click on the “follow” button results in a follow.

+ Bugs: Users have reported problems with Twitter removing followers with their authorisation. Legitimate connections are being mysteriously broken.

+ Dislike: Obviously there will be cases where a user genuinely ends the relationship by intentionally unfollowing a user.

The combination of the above may be enough to explain the current high churn of new followers. Spammers have always remained in front of the curve. E-mail has got smarter and applications like Twitter are the next watering hole for ‘fake viagra peddlers’ and ‘Nigerian money scammers’.

Unfollowing in Stealth

The majority of social media sites alert you to when someone wants to make a new connection. However very few (if any) send you a notification of when that connection ends. This seems in contrast to the “making of a new connection” where there is complete transparency.

The current process:

1. Mike logs into account
2. Mike identifies Peter to connect with
3. Mike send a new connection request
3a. Sometimes Peter may need to authorise connection request
3b. Peter authorises connection
4. Mike notified of new connection
5. Mike breaks connection
6. No notification sent to Peter
7. Peter doesn’t know connection broken

Benefits of Stealth

It seems odd that the making of a connection are so open, however the closing of a connection are almost secret. What is the benefit to the network?

The clearest benefit seems to avoid social awkwardness for users. Generalising, the majority of humans wish to avoid conflict and by allowing discreet disconnection all parties can continue participating without the awkwardness. At least, until disconnected party realises they have been dumped.

From one angle it seems unreasonable to expect parties to authorise the break of the relationship. This may inadvertently increase the psychological barrier for creating new connections and reducing the effectiveness of the network. In contrast, many people are quick to rush into things even when implications are high (e.g. financial contracts with penalties for exiting). Attaching penalties on exit may not discourage users forming new connections.

Would building a social network based on full transparency mean a better community? Would penalising breaking connections be effective?

No Conclusions

There are various third party applications online to track your followers and unfollowers. It remains unknown if Twitter and others will enable this functionality within their own environments. For now we just need to accept that it is a better user experience to know about new connections…

Image Credit: Pluggio

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

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Get hired with the help of your friend, Mark Zuckerberg?

tl;dr Adzuna, a search engine for classified ads encourages users to share adverts via social media. In this instance, the prompt features a friendly photo of Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder).

Get hired with the help of your friend?

Adzuna, the British startup that “aims to become the leading search engine for classified ads, globally” continues to shine. They recently featured on Startups.co.uk’s top 100 startups of 2012; and raised £800k via seed and venture round funding. Congrats Adzuna!

The site smartly and easily aggregates jobs, car and property adverts. Like most sites, they encourage you to connect your experience to popular social media platforms (LinkedIn and Facebook). However it still came as a shock as we discovered a stock photo featuring the blue eyed magnum steel stare of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. We couldn’t resist sharing the image (above). “Get hired with the help of your friend”.

We hope Mark can help out?

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Top 100 UK Startups (2010)
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Top Startup Podcasts – Learning From Listening

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

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Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

How To Get Traction? Or Why Is My Startup Broken?

The Mystery of Achieving Exponential Growth

tl;dr This post looks at how startups gain their initial traction. By studying previous successful startups (like Quora, Mint, Airbnb, Twitter, Facebook, Groupon) we realise that clever mass marketing techniques; and targeting niche markets are the real reason many grew so quickly. Going viral is harder than it looks.

The Problem With Your Startup

You’ve thought of the great idea, conducted various forms of customer validation, recruited your technical co-founder, pivoted twice and finally launched your Minimal Viable Product (MVP). Awesome! You are on the verge of making the headlines and dollars. You and your co-founder stare at the web analytics screen waiting for lift off… Something must be broken. You check your Internet connection and click refresh. You ask yourselves why no one is visiting your site? Why is no one buying our product?

The common question of gaining initiation traction is challenging one. Challenging because it fundamentally questions your business model. Going live or launching is the ultimate validation test. Did we build the right thing? Does anyone want our product?

Marketers are quick to advise you to “improve your SEO”, “interact on key social media” or “buy adwords”. Consultants will tell you to “revisit your business model” or “redraw your lean canvas”. While you appreciate their helpfulness, this advice doesn’t always translate to your business case or doesn’t actually work in reality.

How To Get Traction?

When in doubt, look back in time. While not the most reliable tool (history), it may well help you make your next intelligent step forward. Or it just proves that the big names of today faced a similar uphill battle.

Quora has endless questions on gaining traction. Enough to justify the section titled: How Did X Get Traction? Here is a selection of some of our favourite initial traction startup stories.

1. How did Quora get its initial traction?

Adam D’Angelo (Quora Founder) puts it simply: “We invited our friends, and some of them invited their friends, etc.” However this was back in 2010 and the site has evolved dramatically since then. A common thread for many startups is encouraging content creation. Sites that can encourage users to create content retains existing users and attracts new users.

2. How did Mint get initial traction?

Mint insiders go into detail of how they built their user base. Apart from having a great brand that solved a real problem, they leveraged a strong PR and marketing strategy that reaped high quality traffic.

A sweet domain name also helps, but usually comes at a price. Mint supposedly paid $2 million for the four letter address.

3. How did Airbnb get initial traction?

Solve a problem with a crazy idea. In 2007 San Francisco hotels were booked out. The buddying entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to rent out their floor space by throwing an “air” mattress. The concept blew up.

Dave Gooden suggests a rather more sinister approach to gaining traction. He describes a sophisticated mailing campaign via Craiglist.

4. How did LinkedIn get its initial traction?

Lee Hower (LinkedIn Founding Team) boasts impressive growth in users. Within 12 months they claimed 500,000 users!

We are doubtful of good luck and timing however… some claim the uniqueness of their product at that time explained the success.

Others suggest clever news article placements in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine helped gain attention.

5. How did plentyoffish get its initial traction?

A decade ago dating websites became the ultimate place to find your next partner. Many competitors appeared but Plenty of Fish remained in top spot.

The reason behind this success is likely to be Markus Frind’s (founder) smart approach to SEO and Google AdSense. His blog post describes the sites exponential growth.

6. How did Facebook gain its initial traction?

We’ve all followed the news stories and seen the film (“The Social Network“). Was it really down to the determination of one computer programming genius?

The early traction appears to have come collecting e-mail addresses of schools and students. The Facebook leveraged the network effect of well connected groups to gain traction.

They offered an attractive option for networks of schools and students to stay connected. As these networks already existed, they simply moved this targeted niche from older and isolated networks to the newer platform.

7. How did StumbleUpon gain its initial traction?

According to Brad O’Neill (First Angel Investor and Advisor) Stumbleupon was one of the very first add-ons to the Firefox browser. This early relationship helped Stumbleupon grow a significant userbase, as the functionality was integrated into their browsing.

Stumbleupon was one of five or six product ideas the original founders had considered.

8. How did Twitter get initial traction?

The tipping point for Twitter appears to be its showcase at the 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. Twitter displayed festival goers messages on large screens around the event.

However before this time, it is likely that the early adopters and a large network of bloggers did their part to spread the word.

9. How did Foursquare get initial traction?

One view is that a launch at 2009 South by Southwest (SXSW) kicked off their growth. Another view is that a city-by-city approach expanded as new users were added. By pushing growth in cities, a combination of city level growth and national growth promoted adoption.

However was it their prior experience with location based technology that triggered their real growth? Dennis Crowley (Founder) several years earlier had developed and sold a similar concept to Google (now Google Latitude).

10. How did Groupon get initial traction?

Groupon began life as the ThePoint, a community campaign site. It was only several iterations later that a simple experiment for pizza coupons on a WordPress blog validated their coupon based model. Or was it?

Andrew Chen suggests a more sinister strategy of realising a “temporary arbitrage in buying tons of demographically targeted ad inventory”. Groupon essentially leveraged a low cost of customer acquisition by buying up massive subscriber lists and then targeting them with marketing messages. The cost of acquisition quickly rose but by then Groupon had a large enough pool of customers.

Conclusions

It appears plenty of mystery exists around gaining early traction. However based on the above analysis, these top tips may help you gain your early traction:

+ Encourage content creation
+ Get a sweet four letter domain name
+ Build a sophisticated mailing campaign
+ Get published in a newspaper article read by your target market
+ Get the most out of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
+ Utilise the network effect
+ Be the first and be integrated into a daily tool (eg be that button on the top of every web browser)
+ Use early adopters and bloggers to promote your brand
+ Leverage prior experience (and networks)
+ Find a low cost of customer acquisition before others do

If you wish to share your own experiences drop us a line or leave a comment or join the Hacker News discussion.

Image Credit: Let A Thousand Nations

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You might also enjoy:
+ Need Startup Advice? – Just Ask Online
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Top Startup Podcasts – Learning From Listening

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

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Be the First to Like Us on Facebook

We recently announced our foray onto Facebook. It is difficult to ignore Facebook with 900 million active users. Unfortunately we are yet to get much of a following. Therefore this is a shout out for support.

Simply log onto Facebook and visit our page. Invite your friends and share your views on entrepreneurship, startups and technology.

And don’t forget, we are also on all the other mainstream social media site – please get invovled:

twitter.com/SparknLaunch

plus.google.com/SparkNLaunch

facebook.com/SparkNLaunch

sparknlaunch.wordpress.com/feed/ (RSS)

stumbleupon.com/stumbler/sparknlaunch

technorati.com/SparkNLaunch/

sprouter.com/sparknlaunch/

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

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Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

How the $16bn Facebook IPO looks like in cash (Image)

Mark insisted on paying in cash… (Image Hack: demonocracy.info)


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Facebook are on the verge of making history. Their IPO will see them raise at least $16 billion and value the company at over $100 billion.

The Economic Times reports:

Facebook’s initial public offering of stock is shaping up to be one of the largest ever. The world’s definitive online social network is raising at least $16 billion, a big windfall for a company that began eight years ago with no way to make money.

Facebook priced its IPO at $38 per share on Thursday, at the high end of its expected range. If extra shares reserved to cover additional demand are sold as part of the transaction, Facebook Inc. and its early investors stand to reap as much as $18.4 billion from the IPO.

The IPO values the company at around $104 billion, slightly more than Amazon.com, and well above well-known corporations such as Disney and Kraft.

Those are some really unfathomable numbers! To put the figures into some perspective, imagine a pallet stacked full of fresh $100 notes:

+ 100 million dollars ($100,000.000) = 1 pallet (approx shoulder height)
+ 1 billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) = 10 pallets
+ 2 billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) = 20 pallets (1 truck)
+ 16 billion dollars ($16,000,000,000) = 160 pallets (8 trucks – 1 x image above)
+ 100 billion dollars ($100,000,000,000) = 1,000 pallets (50 trucks – 6.25 x image above)
+ 104 billion dollars ($104,000,000,000) = 1,040 pallets (52 trucks – 6.50 x image above)

Whatever you think about Facebook, Zuckerberg, the bubble, this IPO represents a truly impressive story and no one can be certain what direction the share price will head on float day.

Image credit: Demonocracy.Info (Truck Image)

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook

Like it or hate it?

Through Project Trout we have been sharing our social media experiences. We have spoken about the effectiveness of tools in attracting visitors and building meaningful relationships in earlier posts.

We are already using Twitter and Google Plus. We have not had the best levels of engagement however we are hoping over time these will be useful platforms to have a presence on.

We have now signed up to Facebook. We had reluctance in signing up to yet another social media site however it may be an interesting study to determine if FB is any better at drawing in visitors than Twitter and Google Plus. So far we have not had the greatest success with any other tools. Let’s wait and see what happens.

Stay tuned and check us out on Facebook!

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Blog Milestone – Lessons Learned From 50 Blog Posts

One way to celebrate your 50th blog post... (Dangerous Goods Transport)

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It’s been a long time since we celebrated our 30th blog post and even longer since our first post when we proudly blogged “Hello World”.

Today we publish our 50th post! We are often surprised how many bloggers suffer the dreaded writers block. We suffer the opposite and have a pipeline of 100+ draft posts awaiting publication.

We have learned a massive amount on startups since beginning this blog. Mostly thanks to the excellent resources available online and meeting some smart people around the place. Nevertheless there is still much more to learn in this dynamic environment.

So, what have we learned? Was it worth it? Should we keep going? Where are we? And where are we going?

On startups:
+ Startups are hard work
+ Startups are uncertain
+ Startups are different to traditional businesses
+ Your startup will probably fail

On people:
+ Your team matters
+ You don’t need to be technical (but it helps)
+ You need enthusiasm and passion
+ Be surrounded by people smarter than you
+ Don’t work in isolation, engage with others

On ideas:
+ Every good or bad idea is being done
+ Having an idea is just the beginning
+ Evaluating your idea is tough but crucial
+ You need to identify the problem
+ Getting surveys filled out is hard
+ Personal evaluation is step 1

On planning:
+ Planning is important
+ The Business Plan has been replaced by The Business Model

On customers:
+ Customer discovery starts by getting out the building and speak to people
+ You need to speak to potential customers
+ You need to know their pain points
+ You want the right customers, not the wrong ones

On development:
+ You need an MVP
+ Build it and they will come is fiction
+ Keep It Simple

On learning:
+ Entrepreneurs are willing to share their stories
+ The Internet has many great resources
+ Knowing the language helps
+ Reflection counts
+ You can never stop learning

On motivation:
+ Stop making excuses
+ Set small tasks and complete them

On blogging:
+ Getting engagement is hard
+ Upcoming posts
+ No one reads this blog, but it doesn’t matter
+ Twitter doesn’t work
+ Good writing counts
+ Looks don’t matter

On next steps:
+ Keep blogging, but write better more meaningful and honest posts
+ Start (and finish) something real
+ Interact more

Thanks to all our readers and those who have sent us feedback. We look forward to sharing another 50 posts with all of you!

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You might also enjoy:
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

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14 Year Old Girl: “Stop making excuses, make something awesome”

The Good Old Days? (Scitech Blog News)

The old and dusty cliched image of technology has radically shifted in the past decade. The tech scene is now glamorised by young people trying to build the next Facebook.

When we came across the article title – I’m a girl, aged 14, based in the North – working on a tech startup; “stop making excuses, make something awesome” – we suddenly felt very old.

Cec Plascott along with two others have built Propelly. The sales pitch of “digital retail, minus the hassle” sums up a neat little platform for selling anything digital lying around on your desktop. It is a fantastic idea that has been brought to fruition by a group of teenagers.

Plascott passionately writes about telling her teenage counterparts to stop making excuses and do something. Her message applies not just to youngsters, but adults who are sitting back and doing nothing. If a 14 year old can build something, then any adult has no excuse.

She lists a handful of other teens who have gone out and built stuff – Nick D’Aloisio, Jamal Edwards, and Josh Buckley. She cites the GoSquared story that started out by the team when they were still at school. There are many more.

Age is not the only issue tackled. Plascott also praises female entrepreneurs like Leah Busque and Deena Varshavskaya for inspiring her. While women continue to lag behind in the startup communities, the few female entrepreneurs around the place are making a difference (one example: Caterina Fake).

So next time you are looking for an excuse, consider the young kid next to you on the train who is heading home to finish their homework and then finalise their business plan…

“Stop making excuses, make something awesome.”

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You might also enjoy:
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #2

Project Trout continues measuring the effectiveness of various online promotion methods as mentioned in earlier posts (Social Media Experiment #1).

The results from the last few weeks are disappointing. Especially the ineffectiveness of Twitter in driving traffic.

Updated findings:

+ Online interactions don’t always equate to anything of value.

The experts advise you to interact with other blogs and online mediums. This may constitute following another blog or leaving a friendly comment. The few interactions that gather a response back typically result in limited or no value (eg link back to your blog).

+ Efforts for attention still result in zero effect.

Promoting yourself on social media sites means competing against millions of others, even in your chosen niche. Breaking out and getting noticed is tough. Getting noticed by the right audience is even tougher.

+ Activity on Twitter doesn’t necessary drive traffic to your blog.

In an effort to interact and thank our faithful Twitter followers we sent direct messages to new joiners (including a link to our blog). We even tweeted our thanks publicly (mentioning new joiners). In the first week drove 1% of followers to our blog. This conversion rate feels awfully low, especially for those who have made the effort to ‘click’ follow.

+ Traffic doesn’t necessary equal value.

The ‘Leap Year – 3 interesting facts about 29 February‘ post gained significant interest from StumbleUpon. The problem with StumbleUpon is that users ‘stumble’ through website and therefore do not stay long on your site and do not visit other parts. This makes their visit meaningless in terms of value. (Example).

We have summarised the activities below. We hope our planned activities and patience will pay off.

Week 7:
Current focus is Twitter and WordPress blog. Google Plus has been neglected for now as difficult to gain a large following as a ‘page’ rather than a ‘user’.
Twitter: 42 Tweets, 300 Following, 92 Followers
Blog: 20 posts now available. Traffic still remains low.

Week 8:
Twitter: 56 Tweets, 300 Following, 100 Followers
StumbleUpon: Registered account and added recent posts to profile. Automatic pingback generated false spike in traffic.
Blog: 22 posts now available. Traffic still remains low.

Week 9:
Twitter: 70 Tweets, 450 Following, 125 Followers
StumbleUpon: Big spike in traffic over two days from SU however traffic falls back down to normal levels.
Technorati: Registered account. Awaiting application to be approved.
Blog: 25 posts now available. About page updated. Traffic still remains low.

Week 10:
Twitter: 82 Tweets, 440 Following, 162 Followers

Planned Activities:
Continue with Twitter activity and better blog content.

Current Links:
Wordpress: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/sparkNlaunch
Google+: plus.google.com/sparkNlaunch/
RSS: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/feed/
StumbleUpon: stumbleupon.com/stumbler/sparknlaunch

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You might also enjoy:
+ Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update

Late last year we kicked off Project Trout (Social Media Experiment #1), aimed to share our own experiences with using social media to gain traffic and interest.

Our findings so far are not so surprising:
+ It is hard to get noticed, even in your own niche/field.
+ It takes time for responses.
+ Some efforts have resulted in zero attention.
+ Interest in a tweet doesn’t necessary result in a visitor to your blog.

We have summarized the activities below.

Week 1:
Go live – Blog goes from private to public. 8 initial postings available.
Enabled Google Webmaster Tools.
Enabled Social Media buttons on each post.
Improved header information and text.

Week 2:
Twitter and Google Plus accounts activated. An additional 4 postings made available.
RSS feeds added to Feedage.com.
Twitter: 6 Tweets, 2 Following, 11 Followers
Blog: Some traffic and comments to blog.

Week 3:
Monitored Twitter activity via Twitter Counter.
Added links to FeedShark, a free tool to promote your website.

Week 4:
Experimented with Pluggio and HootSuite to schedule and manage Twitter account.

Week 5:
Twitter: Increased the amount of Twitter users we were following from c. 15 to 350. Had a dramatic impact on followers (peaking around 110). Then a sudden fall over the following days down to nearly 80 followers. Many followers were spam accounts later deleted by Twitter.

Week 6:
No new activity.

Week 7:
Current focus is Twitter and WordPress blog. Google Plus has been neglected for now as difficult to gain a large following as a ‘page’ rather than a ‘user’.
Twitter: 42 Tweets, 300 Following, 92 Followers
Blog: 20 posts now available. Traffic still remains low.

Planned Activities:
More interaction within WordPress community.
Continue Twitter tweets.
Create more high quality content.

Current Links:
Wordpress: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/sparkNlaunch
Google+: plus.google.com/sparkNlaunch/
RSS: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/feed/

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You might also enjoy:
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Project Trout – Social Media Experiment #1

Over the next few months we will be experimenting with methods of bringing more readers to this blog.

We have already made efforts to make it easier for interested readers to find this blog by adding meaningful and relevant tags and titles to each post.

However the biggest challenge will be measuring the effectiveness of individual social media tools (eg Twitter, Google+ and Facebook). Also, old school methods like Really Simple Syndication (RSS).

Fortunately plenty of free statistics tools are available so we hope that this bit will not be so difficult. The majority tell you how a visitor came to your website, what they read and what links they clicked on.

For example:
WordPress provides it’s own statistics dashboard.
Google Webmaster Tools offers the same.
Twitter Counter shows you metrics based on tweets, followers, followings. It forecasts these metrics based on previous performance.
Feedage lets you add your WordPress RSS feed to their directory and track previews and views.

As we go along we will update this post to include our new links. Currently we offer links to the site via:

WordPress: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/sparkNlaunch
Google+: plus.google.com/sparkNlaunch/
RSS: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/feed/

Last Update: 05/02/2012

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You might also enjoy:
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #2
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Web Stats – Who is top of the league table?

We spent some time trawling the web trying to work out what the most popular websites were by traffic and why?

It didn’t take long to find Alexa and the endless tables of web rankings.

“Alexa is the leading provider of free, global web metrics. Search Alexa to discover the most successful sites on the web by keyword, category, or country.”

We have published a small table of the top 30 (plus 1 to include Apple) websites in the world at this point in time (see below). There are no real surprises.

Search (google, yahoo), e-mail portals (google, microsoft, yahoo), blogging sites (blogspot, wordpress) and social networking (facebook, linkedin, twitter) feature highly. No surprises to see plenty of Chinese, Japanese and Indian appearing there as well.

One surprising aspect is that adult entertainment sites only start appearing around position 50 (no pun intended). Maybe the social networking sites have taken over?

The research is more interesting when you start looking into categories. It is a quick and handy way to see what your future competitors are up to.

The answer to the why these sites pull in so much traffic seems simple. The harder bit to answer is how you can get your website up the league tables?

We will write about POF another time, but yields an interesting story of web traffic and turning this into revenue.

Rank Name URL
1 Google google.com
2 Facebook facebook.com
3 YouTube youtube.com
4 Yahoo! yahoo.com
5 Baidu.com baidu.com
6 Wikipedia wikipedia.org
7 Windows Live live.com
8 Blogspot.com blogspot.com
9 Twitter twitter.com
10 Amazon.com amazon.com
11 QQ.COM qq.com
12 Taobao.com taobao.com
13 Google India google.co.in
14 LinkedIn linkedin.com
15 MSN msn.com
16 Yahoo! Japan yahoo.co.jp
17 新浪新闻中心 sina.com.cn
18 WordPress.com wordpress.com
19 Google google.de
20 eBay ebay.com
21 Google谷歌 google.com.hk
22 Яндекс yandex.ru
23 Google 日本 google.co.jp
24 Google UK google.co.uk
25 Google France google.fr
26 Bing bing.com
27 新浪微博-随时随地分享身边的新鲜事儿 weibo.com
28 t.co t.co
29 Microsoft Corporation microsoft.com
30 网易 163.com
31 Apple Inc. apple.com

Let’s see if this list changes much in the next few months.

.

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+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
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