So Much For Pleasing the People

One of my favorite magazines of all time, Business 2.0 is shutting down. I’ve been a subscriber since the beginning, and it’s one of two magazines that I honestly look forward to getting in the mail each month (the other being Wired) and actually read from cover to cover (there’s 4 of them sitting on my desk right now).

I did everything a single person can do to make a difference — I joined the Facebook group to save the magazine, I renewed my subscription for two years, I wrote the editor… but alas, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

Details of the downward spiral and ultimate demise are covered in a great article by Mark Glaser, and TechCrunch has a shot of the final cover design.


The Future of Online Classifieds

Kevin Kelleher wrote an interesting piece last week about eBay’s new Kijiji classifieds service in the U.S. and how it stacks up against Craigslist.

Kevin links to Internet Outsider which has this great comment:

Despite significant online classified efforts, moreover, the classified opportunity remains massive: The dying newspaper industry still rakes in tens of billions of dollars a year for printed classifieds — a less efficient, less informative, less convenient, more wasteful, and more expensive way to buy or sell products. In another few decades, when the current (and last) generation of hard-copy newspaper readers dies out, printed classifieds will seem as archaic as whale oil. The newspaper companies may be able to retain some classifieds business as it moves online, but given the success of Craigslist, Monster, et al (and the seriously weak newspaper efforts thus far), this percentage will likely be small.

So, there’s a $10 billion plus market for classifieds, and the majority of it is not online.

Here’s where I get excited. Of all the news and community content features that eNeighbors offers to the neighborhood residents, classifieds have been the most popular by far. To date (we launched in April), we have had over 300 classifieds posted from only 2000 users in 18 neighborhoods. Keep in mind that most of the neighborhoods have only been using our service for a few weeks.

Additionally, we have already received numerous comments from users that they would like to be able to publish their classifieds to other neighborhoods in their area. This is a site enhancement that we are currently working.

The great thing is that we built the classifieds engine as a “nice to have” feature for residents to use when garage sales were not appropriate never expecting it to be so popular, but our users have begun to see a huge potential for a truly hyper-local type of market square.

I’d like to see eNeighbors follow in Craig Newmark’s footsteps and provide valuable relevant classifieds in an even more hyper-local context.

Never underestimate the power of free.

TownKings: Location-based social networking

TownKings is an interesting concept. (TownQueens is the sister site for women.) They both look like they’re geared toward dating, but they also attempt to connect you to local parties and information about your friends.

My only concern with sites like TownKings and FatDoor is privacy.

I’ve registered on the site to test it out. Feel free to send me a friend request. You can find me by my username, cstock. So far, I’m the only guy who’s joined in my area.

Mosh, Yahoo’s new social network?

TechCrunch is reporting that Yahoo! is working on a new social network called “Mosh”. I actually like the name. I assume that it makes reference to moshing.

It’ll be interesting to see if they tie local into the mix. Right now, there isn’t any information to suggest that they are, but local and social is a big focus for them this year. Or at least it was before Terry left.

Dove: The Social Ad (r)Evolution

Dove’s “Evolution” video wins the top prize at Cannes Lions Ad Festival this year. This viral video was created as part of Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” and promotes Dove’s self-esteem charity efforts.

Why is this important?

The social movement on the internet (i.e. web 2.0) has allowed this ad to be viewed and dicussed at unprecedented levels. This ad campaign was fueled by the masses. Five (heck, even three) years ago, this type of awareness and communication simply did not exist.

Pete Blackshaw of Nielsen Buzz Metrics has a great post that details out the specifics of Dove’s marketing success.

This just proves that the social web matters in the “real world” and can be used for more things than the MySpace crowd’s party shout outs and obsessive niche markets like twitter and Google Earth. When companies start talking to us about stuff that matters, we get engaged and become part of the community.

Welcome to the (r)evolution.

Supernova 2007

Guys like Mike Arrington, Reid Hoffman, and Max Levchin are all hanging out at Supernova 2007 this week in San Francisco.

From the site:
At Supernova, we attempt to answer “what’s next” after everything is connected. Supernova is the only event that assembles the most compelling people and companies from the converging worlds of computing, telecom, and digital media to put decentralization issues into meaningful social and business contexts.

In addition, Google, Yahoo!, AOL, Comcast, Verizon, Cisco, Sun, and IBM are all represented as well.

Some interesting topics of discussion include virtual worlds, user-generated content, online identity, social commerce and media, net neutrality, advertising, and copyright.

Check their blog for updates.

Can Online Advertising Be Useful?

The Future of Online Advertising (FOOA) conference wrapped a couple weeks back, and I’ve been reading a lot of summaries and commentary about the different sessions and the overall direction of online advertising.

Not surprisingly, the topic of video was very hot. YouTube and Google made sure of that. And of course, the traditional TV networks are in full support of a medium that they are at least somewhat familiar with, but the trend that I thought was more relevant to us here at eNeighbors was the demand that online direct marketing be even more measured and tracked than it already is, and secondly, that the media and channels provide accountability.

With so many different online channels (e.g., blogs, videos, social networks, etc.) to use for your ad campaign, picking the right ones are going to be determined by how measureable and accountable a particular channel is willing to be.

Additionally, the content aggregators that are stripping content from their source only complicates the measurability situation. So, I think the question for how to determine effectiveness will ultimately end up with figuring out where and how people want to receive their content. And if (and that’s a big “if”) when they do receive that content in their personalized fashion, they are willing to put up with advertising.

The key is relevance. If I’m looking for a new grass treatment company for my lawn, then I’ll welcome all the ads I can get for lawn companies. But the icing on the cake will be whether I can quantify those ads in regards to value.

So, what we need is useful aggregator of content that is personal and relevant. And when I need it, provides me with a useful way to find and assess a service provider for whatever my need might be.

Good luck.