Thursday, 9 February 2012

When It Comes to Facebook a Like Does Not Equal a Sale

Marketers should make the mistake of assuming that a Facebook "like" equates to a sale or even a loyal customer.
I want to share some findings I came across via eMarketer re: a study conducted by eVoc Insights on the value of a Facebook "like."  I also want to make note of something else I saw in the same eMarketer article which sounded a little too much like something I wrote not long ago...
First, the study...
In their article, eMarketer makes reference to particular finding from the study, the one which speaks directly to whether or not a Facebook "like" equates to a sale. Of course they (eMarketer) took the findings and applied their infamous and quite ubiquitous red & black graph.
Here's the original...
Now, in their article they decided to lump the 41% who said they were "somewhat more likely to buy" with the 13% who said they were "much more likely to buy" a brand they "liked" on Facebook.
From the eMarketer article: "When surveyed by eVoc, 54% of Facebook users who “liked” the page of a brand or company that sells a product or service said they were somewhat or much more likely to purchase from that brand."
I, however, completely disagree with this "rolling together" of these two percentages. If anything, the two percentages that should be rolled together should be the two higher ones.
And here's why...
If you're a brand manager or keeper of a brand flame, etc., wouldn't you be under the impression AND assumption that if someone "likes" your brand on Facebook that same someone is also a buyer of your brand?
Of course you are... You have to think to yourself 'why else would someone like my brand if they didn't also buy it?'
To me the word "somewhat" is about as ambiguous as it gets. To me the word "somewhat" means "maybe" but certainly not "definitely."
Huge difference...
Never assume (no I won't say what happens when we assume) that just because someone clicked "like" means you can now add them to your Rolodex of loyal, faithful and money-spending customers.

Is eMarketer Reading My Articles...?

They say "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" and I want you to tell me if I am way off base here but it sure seems like the folks at eMarketer are reading my articles, which if they are, I'm flattered... :)
In the second half of their article, eMarketer makes reference to another study which showed that very few fans of some of the biggest brands in the world actually engage with them on their Facebook Page.
Here's an excerpt from the eMarketer article about this...
"Limited consumer engagement with brands on Facebook suggests there may be a disconnect between the reasons why consumers actually “like” a brand and the reasons brands think consumers are “liking” their page. When the CMO Council asked Facebook users in Q4 2011 about their expectations after “liking” a brand on Facebook, the top expectation (67%) was to be 'eligible for exclusive offers.'"
Now here's an excerpt from one of my recent articles:
"A survey conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Lithium, a social media tech firm, revealed a huge divide between what marketers think consumers want vs. what consumers really want when it comes to social media."
I actually wrote TWO articles on the "disconnect" between brands and consumers re: social media...
So am I delusional? Is it just a coincidence?
Like I said, I would be flattered if the folks at eMarketer were reading my articles.

But enough about me... no one really cares, I know.

What people - brand managers, brand evangelists, and so on do care about is Facebook and why a consumer likes a brand on Facebook and if that "like" translates into sales.
The answer is no... surely said consumer may eventually buy a given brand but the fact is consumers like a given brand because they want and expect something in return.
A chart from the CMO/Lithium study:

To me, if someone who "likes" your brand on Facebook also happens to buy your brand, is very fortunate coincidence. - The Best in Social Business

Tim Berners-Lee Takes the Stand to Keep the Web Free

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee addresses the media during the International World Wide Web conference in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, March 31, 2011. Photo: Mahesh Kumar A/AP
The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, testified in a courtroom Tuesday for the first time in his life. The web pioneer flew down from Boston, near where he teaches at MIT, to an eastern Texas federal court to speak to a jury of two men and six women about the early days of the web.
His trip is part of an effort by a group of internet companies and retailers trying to defeat two patents — patents that a patent-licensing company called Eolas and the University of California are saying entitle them to royalty payments from just about anyone running a website with “interactive” features, like rotating pictures or streaming video.
(For background on the case and patents, see our story “Patent Troll Claims Ownership of Interactive Web — And Might Win“)
The defendants, including Google, Amazon, and Yahoo, are hoping that Berners-Lee’s testimony—combined with that of other web pioneers like Netscape co-founder Eric Bina, Viola browser inventorPei-Yuan Wei, and Dave Raggett (who invented the HTML “embed” tag) — will convince the jury that the inventions of Eolas and its founder, Michael Doyle, aren’t worth much. The stakes couldn’t be higher — if Berners-Lee and the defendants don’t succeed, Eolas and Doyle could insist on a payout from almost every modern website.
Berners-Lee, a slight 56-year-old man, spoke quickly and quietly; at one point, Judge Leonard Davis asked him to speak up. “We have a language situation with your accent that makes it doubly
difficult,” he told the scientist. Berners-Lee shifted position and looked about the room as he spoke, and seemed uncomfortable at times.
Jennifer Doan, a Texarkana lawyer representing Yahoo and Amazon, led the questioning.
“Mr. Berners-Lee, why are you here?” asked Doan.
“I am here because I want to help get some clarity over what was obvious, and what was the feeling of computing [in the early 1990s]…. The tools I had in my knapsack, so to speak,” he said.
After describing how Berners-Lee worked at CERN in Switzerland back in the 1980s, Doan moved on to the web. When Berners-Lee invented the web, did he apply for a patent on it, Doan asked.
“No,” said Berners-Lee.
“Why not?” asked Doan.
“The internet was already around. I was taking hypertext, and it was around a long time too. I was taking stuff we knew how to do…. All I was doing was putting together bits that had been around for years in a particular combination to meet the needs that I have.”
Doan: “And who owns the web?”
Berners-Lee: “We do.”
Doan: “The web we all own, is it ‘interactive’?”
“It is pretty interactive, yeah,” said Berners-Lee, smiling.
Then Doan moved on to the heart of Berners-Lee’s testimony: to establish the importance of the Viola browser, created by Pei Wei, who was at that time a computer science student at UC Berkeley. The Viola browser is a key piece of “prior art” that the defendant companies hope will invalidate the UC/Eolas patent.
Berners-Lee described Viola as “an important part of the development of the web.”
The jury was shown an e-mail from Pei Wei to Berners-Lee dated December 1991 — almost two years before Doyle’s invention — which read in part: “One thing I’d like to do soon, if I have time, is to teach the parser about Viola object descriptions and basically embed Viola objects (GUIs and programmability) into HTML files.”
Later Tuesday, Wei would testify that he had demonstrated interactive elements working in the Viola browser to Sun Microsystems in May 1993 — several months before Doyle claims to have come up with his invention.
Finally, Doan turned to Berners-Lee’s book, in which he described Wei as “a very inventive student at UC Berkeley.” Berners-Lee described how the web community at that time wasn’t focused on patents or even money — Wei simply put his invention online for free.
“It was ahead of its time,” said Berners-Lee. “The things Pei was doing would later be done in Java.” Java was heavily used in the late 1990s to add interactivity to web pages, later to be supplanted by Flash, Javascript and now HTML5.
His own act, creating the World Wide Web, was more a matter of personalities and persuasion than it was a matter of hammering out code, he explained.
“[My book] is the story of those times — inventing it, and not so much inventing but the social process of trying to get everyone to use the same standards. The reason the Web took off is not because it was a magic idea, but because I persuaded everyone to use HTML and HTTP.”
In cross-examination, lead Eolas attorney Mike McKool grilled Berners-Lee about his views on software patents.
“There’s been a debate, in Europe, about whether to allow the patenting of software,” McKool began.
“There have been debates, in general, for many years [about software patents],” replied Berners-Lee.
“They don’t allow patenting of software over there, do they?”
The scientist on the witness seemed to start an answer, then reconsidered, saying only: “I’m not a patent attorney.”
“You do understand that under United States law — in this country — our country can and does grant patents on software?” asked McKool.
Then McKool brought up a 2004 article in the International Herald-Tribune, in which Berners-Lee was quoted being critical of software patents.
“[Don't you want] complete abolition of software patents?” asked McKool.
On the stand, Berners-Lee hesitated to condemn software patents in general, but made clear he was concerned about the Eolas patents.
“I clearly — I had concerns about the software patent system in the U.S., and this particular patent is key in raising those concerns,” said Berners-Lee, looking increasingly worn down.
McKool pulled up a slide from a talk Berners-Lee gave in 2004, when he accepted an award in Finland. The bullet points noted that in the U.S., software patents created “fear, uncertainty and doubt” and an “incentive for obfuscation.” The bar for what constitutes a novel invention is “set ridiculously low” by the U.S. Patent Office, the slide stated.
“What you say,” said McKool, raising his voice and slowing down as he reached the most nationalistic part of his cross-exam, “is that Europe should stay clear of the mess the U.S.A. is in.”
Berners-Lee quietly concurred. Those looked like his slides; his points.
It’s hard to tell what kind of impact Berners-Lee had on the case. His celebrity status in the tech world is probably unknown to the jurors, and he was tough to follow at times. At best, he might lend some gravitas to the defendants’ plan: rolling out a series of web pioneers associated with early technologies—like the MOSAIC and Viola browsers — to show that Doyle and his company weren’t first.
After his testimony, several lawyers from the audience approached the “father of the web,” hoping to meet him and shake his hand. I also approached, handing him a card and telling him I was a journalist here to cover the trial.
“There are a lot of people who want to understand what this trial is about, and why it’s here,” I said. “People want to know why it’s so important that you came to Tyler.”
“Oh…. I can’t, I just can’t,” said Berners-Lee, still looking shaken.
He saw that my card was from the journalism school at UC Berkeley, where I have a reporting fellowship.
“University of California,” he said. “So, do you teach journalism?” He seemed more interested in the idea that I might be a professor than anything else.
“Not really,” I said. “I’m just a reporter. There’s one class I help out with; that’s it.”
“That’s important, journalism,” he said, seeming distracted but also heartfelt. “Keep up the good work. It’s about getting the truth out to the world, I suppose.”
But he wouldn’t be able to help me with that. Not today, in this room in Tyler, in a room full of dark-suited lawyers. More than 20 years after the quiet English scientist had set the web in motion, he seemed to sense that in Texas, his invention was confronting something new and threatening. - The Best in Social Business

Inside The Apple Protest In San Francisco

Responding to reports of poor conditions in the Chinese factories that make Apple products, a quarter of a million people signed a petition on and, hoping that the signatures will provoke a reaction from Apple.
Today, founder Ben Rattray and his team delivered the signatures collected through his platform to the Apple Store in San Francisco.
All 250,000 signatures were delivered to other locations including New York City, Washington DC, London, Sydney, and Bangalore.
Rattray said, "we are most excited by the capacity of an individual. This is Mark Shields, who is an Apple lover. Immediately in response to an article by The New York Times, Shields rapidly organized a quarter of a million people around the world and organized a distributed protest around the world. It's a remarkable demonstration of the capacity of individuals to advance real change."
The next stop is to escalate talks with Apple and allow consumers to directly negotiate with Apple, Rattray said. Many of the concerned consumers hope that the iPhone 5 will be the first ethical iPhone, Rattray added.
Here was the scene in downtown San Francisco as some folks delivered the petitions to the Apple Store.
Apple Petitions
Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
After a short hello, Rattray and several members from his team handed over the petitions to Apple employee Larry Verter.
Verter kindly accepted the petitions.
Apple petitions
Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
One of the team members expressed his feelings non-verbally, by dressing up as an iPhone.
Apple petitions
Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
Dennis Ring, an Apple customer, stopped by the protest and told us, "I'm here as a consumer to see that the petitions get delivered. To let Tim Cook know they have to change their ways and set the standard for the rest of the industry."

Dennis Ring

Read more: - The Best in Social Business

IPad 3 Set For March Release?

There have been many rumours about the launch of Apple's next-generation iPad, but All Things D are reporting that the iPad 3 will be introduced at an event in San Francisco during the first week of March—the same week the iPad 2 was announced last year. The event will be held in San Francisco, presumably at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Apple’s preferred location for big announcements like these says All Things D.
Equipped with a higher-resolution "retina" display, upgraded camera, thicker body, a quad-core processor, and even possibly LTE support, the iPad 3 will be the widely regarded as another upgrade to the iPad 2.
LTE 4G is the must-have feature for the iPad 3. The sheer size of the iPad and the battery power it packs means there is no excuse to leave this critical feature out. Most of the competition (HTC, Motorola, Samsung) already has LTE tablets for sale. - The Best in Social Business

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Sky's Employees Told Not To RT Other News Sources!

Last night the Guardian released details of an email sent to Sky News employees that outlined new social media guidelines.
Of course, the most sensational part of this - that staff now seem to be banned from retweeting rival "journalists or people on Twitter" - has been highlighted by many amid cries of ‘they just don’t get it’.
Yet the point made below, regarding editorial verification, seems all too fair.
Do not retweet information posted by other journalists or people on Twitter. Such information could be wrong and has not been through the Sky News editorial process."
Sadly, what probably started as an entirely valid exercise to lay out guidelines around fact-checking and the like, seems to have been taken over by the brand police. The clamp down on personal use of Twitter seems far too restrictive, putting the profile of the brand above that of the individual. 
Where a story has been Tweeted by a Sky News journalist who is assigned to the story it is fine, desirable in fact, that it is retweeted by other Sky News staff.”
One the best ways to develop influence is to talk and interact with your peers, but when you leave a role - you take that with you. At least some of the theory here seems to be that if journalists don't talk to others, the influence remains tied to the Sky brand.
The email also apparently warns Sky News journalists to "stick to your own beat" and not to tweet about non-work subjects from their professional accounts.
So, to reiterate, don't tweet when it is not a story to which you have been assigned or a beat which you work."
Again, if an individual choses to separate work and personal accounts – this is actually fair. It isn't exactly best practice, but for some reporters it’s preferred. 
Last year when ITV News snapped up one of the rising stars of the BBC, political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg, to take the newly created role of business editor, debate circulated around what was to become of her Twitter feed.
She was - and still is - one of the most high profile UK journalists on Twitter, using the site to deliver breaking news. In the end, she simply changed the name of her feed from @bbclaura to @itvlaurak, taking over 75,000 followers as she did so. 
As Twitter is used more and more regularly by journalists, feeds in some cases become valid sources with huge followings.
Though the argument over who owns this depends on the circumstances, it’s understandable as to why Sky would want to introduce guidelines around use – protecting itself in the process.
It’s just a shame that this email, if accurate, seems to have been hijacked by those with other ideas. - The Best in Social Business

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Anonymous Hacks Syrian President’s Email. The Password: 12345

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been under fire from world leaders to step down this week. He’s also under fire from hacktivist group Anonymous, who leaked hundreds of his office’s emails on Monday.
While Anonymous is infamous for its hacking know-how, it doesn’t take a genius computer programmer to guess one of the passwords commonly used by Assad’s office accounts: 12345. The string of consecutive numbers is the second-weakest password according to a 2011 study.
Anonymous broke into the mail server of the Syrian Ministry of Presidential Affairs, accessing some 78 inboxes of Assad’s staffers, according a report from Israeli daily Haaretz. The password 12345 was associated with several of the accounts.
Mansour Fadlallah Azzam, the minister of presidential affairs and Bouthaina Shaaban, Assad’s media adviser, were among the victims of the inbox hacks.
Haaretz obtained and published one email that included documents intended to prepare the Syrian leader for his December 2011 interview with Barbara Walters. In the interview, Assad claimed the Syrian government was not killing its people.
“We don’t kill our people,” Assad told ABC “No government in the world kills its people, unless it’s led by a crazy person.”
In the leaked email, Syrian spokesperson at the U.N. Sheherazad Jaafari advised Shabaan and Luna Chebel, a former Al Jazeera reporter and current Assad staffer, on what the Syrian president should say to manipulate Americans:
“It is hugely important and worth mentioning that ‘mistakes’ have been done in the beginning of the crises because we did not have a well-organized ‘police force.’ American psyche can be easily manipulated when they hear that there are ‘mistakes’ done and now we are ‘fixing it.’ It’s worth mentioning also what is happening now in Wall Street and the way the demonstrations are been suppressed by policemen, police dogs and beatings.
“The major points and dimensions that have been mentioned a lot in the American media are: The idea of violence has been one of the major subjects brought up in every article. They use the phrases ‘The Syrian government is killing its own people,’ ‘Tanks have been used in many cities,’ ‘Airplanes have been used to suppress the peaceful demonstrations,’ and ‘Security forces are criminals and bloody.’”
Jaafari’s email also advised that Assad should emphasize the openness of Facebook and YouTube to show the true situation in Syria. Press entry restrictions should be spun as a proactive measure not to have foreign journalists misrepresent the country.
What do you think of Anonymous’s vigilante role in international affairs? Is diplomacy the place for hacktivists? Let us know what you think in the comments. - The Best in Social Business

Monday, 6 February 2012

Facebook is still not deleting your deleted photos...after 3 YEARS!

Facebook is still working on deleting photos from its servers in a timely manner nearly three years after Ars first brought attention to the topic. The company admitted on Friday that its older systems for storing uploaded content "did not always delete images from content delivery networks in a reasonable period of time even though they were immediately removed from the site," but said it's currently finishing up a newer system that makes the process much quicker. In the meantime, photos that users thought they "deleted" from the social network months or even years ago remain accessible via direct link.

The problem: "deleted" photos never go away

When we first investigated this phenomenon in 2009, we discovered that photos "deleted" from Facebook seemingly never go away if you have a direct link to the image file on Facebook's servers. Users who might have had second thoughts about posting a photo—whether it was because they didn't want retaliation from an employer, wanted to avoid family drama, or uploaded a photo of a friend without their permission—could certainly remove the image from Facebook's main user interface, but as long as someone had a direct link to the .jpg file in question, the photo would remain accessible for an indefinite amount of time. When we asked Facebook about it, we were told that the company was "working with our content delivery network (CDN) partner to significantly reduce the amount of time that backup copies persist."
But when we followed up on the story more than a year later, our "deleted" photos were still accessible via direct link. That's when the reader stories started pouring in: we were told horror stories about online harassment using photos that were allegedly deleted years ago, and users who were asked to take down photos of friends that they had put online.
There were plenty of stories in between as well, and panicked Facebook users continue to e-mail me, asking if we have heard of any new way to ensure that their deleted photos are, well, deleted. For example, one reader linked me to a photo that a friend of his had posted of his toddler crawling naked on the lawn. He asked his friend to take it down for obvious reasons, and so the friend did—in May of 2008. As of this writing in 2012, I have personally confirmed that the photo is still online, as are several others that readers linked me to that were deleted at various points in 2009 and 2010.
(Amusingly, after publishing the 2010 followup, Facebook appeared to delete my photos from its CDN that I had linked in the piece. The company never offered me any explanation, but my photos were the only ones that were deleted at that time. Other "deleted" photos that I had saved links to—ones that weren't from my account and were deleted even earlier than mine—remained online.)

It's 2012, and things aren't much different—yet

After confirming once again that all the photos that my friends and Ars readers had sent in were still online, I reached out to Facebook once again, looking for an answer as to why this is still going on nearly three years after the company first promised it was "working" on the issue.
"The systems we used for photo storage a few years ago did not always delete images from content delivery networks in a reasonable period of time even though they were immediately removed from the site," Facebook spokesperson Frederic Wolens told Ars via e-mail.
Wolens explained that photos remaining online are stuck in a legacy system that was apparently never operating properly, but said the company is working on a new system that will delete the photos in a mere month and a half. For really real this time.
"We have been working hard to move our photo storage to newer systems which do ensure photos are fully deleted within 45 days of the removal request being received," Wolens said. "This process is nearly complete and there is only a very small percentage of user photos still on the old system awaiting migration, the URL you provided was stored on this legacy system. We expect this process to be completed within the next month or two, at which point we will verify the migration is complete and we will disable all the old content."
Long story short, Wolens claims that Facebook is on the verge of fixing up its content systems so that "deleted" photos are really, truly deleted from the CDN within 45 days. But with the process not expected to be finished until a couple months from now—and unfortunately, with a company history of stretching the truth when asked about this topic—we'll have to see it before we believe it.
It's hard to believe that we've been following this story over a period of years and the problem hasn't been fixed yet. But unlike the past, we do have some semblance of confidence that Facebook might actually be working on it this time. We'll continue to follow this story until the new changes are actually in place. In the meantime, does anyone have any new Facebook horror stories to share? - The Best in Social Business