Lemonade.com and Affiliate Marketing in a Web 2.0 World

I came across this site just recently, Lemonade and a couple of things came to mind. The first of which is that essentially any name can be turned into a website anymore. Oh to have cybersquatted on hundreds of generic terms back in the early 90’s! My second thought was though at first a novel idea, Lemonade has highlighted a nagging pet-peeve of mine and that is the assumption or ascension of affiliate marketing as the way to go in regards to making money online. It may have worked for Amazon and for a handful of others but to me it just seems like a tough road to hoe for the average site owner.

 I suppose that the efforts made by the Advertiser is nill and equally as such for the Publisher, bearing in mind that it really is the strength of the network that makes it work, along with price, quality and payout…(lots of intangibles there don’t you think?) but to have it as the sole business model for your site to make money, just seems to be looking at the world wide web through rose colored glasses.

The first and foremost issue with most affilate programs is that they don’t pay. If you are looking to join an affiliate program you need to know that you are not likely to have a huge sales volume.  The problem lies in the fact that any affiliate marketing system you do use needs to get good results for both the advertiser and the affiliate. So You have to  identify sites that target similar audiences and have traffic.  But  here’s the kicker: You have to make sure you pay them enough to make it worth their while.” There is a but here, but wait there’s more…

Even for for the serious players, affiliate marketing should be looked at as a way to market products and services without utilizing the reseller channel. The affiliate’s job is simply to generate qualified leads, in the case of Lemonade, they are looking at affiliates to push the products of the participants in its network. So really no sweat equity for them. The serious “Playa’s” can save money on marketing, increase branding to core audiences, broaden the reach of current marketing campaigns, decrease dependance on resellers and increase the amount of leads flowing to the sales team, and or flat out, sales.

So does it work? yes and no. If you have the product, then yes it can work. If you have the traffic, yes it can work. If you have one without the other, it will not work.  But the product has to fit the type of traffic you’re getting. If I have a knitting website and I’m trying to push printer toner, what do you think will be the result?

One other thing, like MLM’s, what works best is an awsome affiliate, someone who has the viral capability to make your product fly off the shelves. Pay them well, and they will evangelize the hell out of your product to their network.  But these are few and far between.

 So will Lemonade work? In this Web 2.0 world it’s hard to say. I suppose it’s a matter of how many widgets can your site, blog, page sustain? With some affiliates or folks who have the right trafffic and are selling the right product, they might be able to hit the ball out of the park. For others, go ahead and put up your Lemonade stand and watch the lemons whither.

43% of teens who instant message use it for things they wouldn’t say in person.

Further enhancing the notion that you don’t need “beer muscles” to say something outrageous, America’s teens have now resorted to hiding behind their pc’s to say things to people they otherwise would not say face to face.

However, on the flip side IM’ing has led to a  significant spike in dates to the mall and the movies  since Twenty-two percent of teens use IMs to ask people out on dates or accept them. Unfortuntaely, fearing the fallout from rejection and or puppy dog eyes, 13%  have used IM for breaking up.

Interestingly enough for parents, this latest data has shot holes in their notion that their teenage son or daughter was banging out the rough draft on that report due next tuesday. Instead, nearly half of teens age 13 to 18 said they use instant messaging.

Among teenagers, about half of girls and more than a third of boys said they have used instant messages for things they wouldn’t say in person. Which means whatever you want it to mean, and we’ll leave it at that!

Teens also dominate when it comes to high usage. One in 10 say they spend three hours or more a day instant messaging, that’s right 3 hours. Nearly a fifth, or 17%, send more than 100 IMs daily. Ok so lets do some math. They go to school from 7:30 to 3, then there might be practice or homework or a job, so that means the better part of the evening is spent IM’ing. There is a some sort of cultural message there, but I’ll let you figure that out on your own.

The online survey of 410 teens and 836 adults was conducted from Oct. 25-Nov. 5 by Knowledge Networks. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 6 percentage points for teens and 4.3 points for adults.

The top 26 Social Networks for Business.

We have concentrated so much on niches in regards to social networks, i.e. music, baby boomers and video, that we thought we should shift the focus towards a more business centric viewpoint. Interestingly enough, the basis of these and all social networks really had it’s start in the business world. In part because that was how deals were made, relationships were formed and jobs were had. It was based on who you knew!

Having said that, lets look at the top social network sites geared towards Business interests.

LinkedIn

Affinity Circles

Craigslist

The Square

Contact Networks

Neighborhood America

Corporate Alumni

Ecademy

Entre Mate

Friendly Favors

I’m not from here

Konnects

LinkSV

Matcheroo

Mediabistro

NetModular

Networkiing for Professionals

PowerMingle

Real Contacts

Reunion

Ryze

Select Minds

Spoke

Teng

Visible Path

Facebook

Feel free to suggest some that I might have missed.

Web 2.0 was NEVER a Business Strategy(con’t)

I came across this post in David Dalka’s blog today and was really impressed with this individuals response to Davids’ post: I’m enclosing the link but here is the gist:
You saw the craze. People built up Web 2.0. It’s frequently a term that people used to avoid business principles and focus entirely on technology without any end goal. I have always disdain it. Many folks surprisingly jumped in with funding for some of these ideas, likely more due to existing dot bomb relationships that business principle.

Yet Internet startups who focus on the following business issues closely will always have a good chance at succeeding:

1. Have a clear value proposition that meets some area of unmet need: Something that says, “We provide a first in industry solution to the problem of blah, blah, blah”. Not “This is kinda like part Digg, Youtube with a bit of Facebook – just way better”. I meet lots of people that say this stuff in the second category, I cringe when I hear it.

2. Realize that Internet companies are marketing companies first and technology companies second: I can’t tell you how many startups I see who hire a programmer, program something and then go hire a salesperson. They go through the whole process without a well crafted, customer focused value proposition.

3 . Have a clear data model that focuses on data integrity and creating a monetizable store of value:
Does your Internet startup attempt to focus on data integrity issues? Will it eventually create a monetizable store of value? I ask this question in the startups that I’ve assisted. It comes from my background in financial services where not having accurate information can cost you millions in an instant, the true Internet time.

4. Have a business model for the company as a stand alone entity. Key partners invested in your outcome? Good.

5. Have people that have worked in high performance startup cultures on your team who understand that real-time iteration of your offerings are critical to your success!

6. Look at and study the history of business and technology innovation. Then use it in your transactions and execution.

These are the five that are most critical, though I’m sure you can think of more critical drivers. Please join the conversation. I can also think of several blogs that focus on buzzwords instead of business principles that are now more than a bit obsolete. It’s time to focus on business success principles at the party. it’s a smaller party, but one that will drive hundreds of new Internet startups for years and years.”

Now here is Rod’s response:

It’s [web 2.0] frequently a term that people used [sic] to avoid business principles and focus entirely on technology without any end goal.

By “technology” here you imply “product.” Would that belief then also apply to financial institutions? Organizations that “… focus entirely on (finance) without any end goal.” The bigger question is what is the “end goal” of a business? Web 2.0 has nothing to do with it whatsoever. The principles are universal or not. In fact, you too are using Web 2.0 as a buzz word. What I assume you are really suggesting here is that the end goal of a business is some type of increased profitability. Put another way, it’s about revenue. If not, perhaps you could define what is the proper “end goal” of a business. Would your theory hold to the political enterprise of Ron Paul, or Steve Jobs’ initial Apple start-up, or even something more basic as WordPress?

How would your argument apply to the arts or arts as a business? Whatever that might mean. Is profitability the end goal of artists or even a museum? Almost never. They are almost always subsidized. This is a struggle that artists have faced for generations. Is it always necessary to have such an end goal? For some, it is “intrinsically” valuable to simply create even at a loss. Do not free-ware an open source developers do this every day? My experience is that many in the Web 2.0 space are moved by artistic, creative, innovative and utilitarian expressions often beyond their desire for wealth or sustainability. For many, their “product” may reap only minor profits and non-sustainable ones and they are more than happy to accept that outcome.

Some theorists emphasize sustainability or longevity as the end goal measurement (Jim Collins). Tom Peters has been stressing the role of design as the ultimate competitive advantage and has little interest in sustainability, but instead nimble businesses that grow and die intentionally and predictably. Still, others like Stephen Covey believe that businesses exist to increase all stake-holders value (i.e. community, employees, shareholders and customers). Each hold the end goal differently. Consequently, each emphasize different measurements as well. It is possible that each may be correct when applied to the proper context.

To your second point:

Realize that Internet companies are marketing companies first and technology companies second.

Are you actually arguing that a company that has this “elusive” “undefined” “end goal” hire sales people before they develop a product or service? This is putting the cart before the horse don’t you think? When Peter Drucker argued that businesses have two major “functions” being marketing and innovation he was not suggesting that they were the end goal or the “purpose” of a business. Instead, they were the means by which a business served its product or service. The end goal as defined by Drucker is what the benefit obtained from the product, service or technology is! That he understood this so well is what allowed him to be such a powerful voice in the non-profit sector. Facebook, Digg, YouTube, WordPress and the like have created value for consumers even if their “end goal” is not clearly understood, defined or even sustainable. If marketing people came first, there often would be no technology nor the product.

Again, by “marketing” you meant no doubt sales. By which you imply again “some type of sustained revenue.” Yet, marketing, technically, is not sales and so you confuse the two. Nevertheless, one can neither market nor sell what doesn’t exist. I suspect Dave you are tying to argue that the marketing function is to demonstrate that any given business enterprise must first prove its financial viability before building the product. That is a good goal. And perhaps for VCs this is a solid requirement, but obviously it hasn’t been. But more to the point, if we were to apply your argument across the board then Ron Paul’s investors would be throwing their money to the wind, Steve Jobs would have closed down Apple a decade ago and the blogging software you use here would not even exist.

I ask you this: When your daughter has a lemon stand outside the house what was the end-goal? Was is profitable? Certainly not. It was entirely subsidized by mom. But a lesson was learned and skills were gained perhaps for another day and another enterprise. That is valuable. That is a good end goal. But even more, it was enjoyable to the child. It holds intrinsically its own end goal that has nothing to do with marketing. Many of these businesses you are chiding live in a similar world. Thank God for them.

Thank God some people believe in having audacious goals that move forward with a zeal that do not necessarily make financial or other rational sense. Thank God there are people willing to challenge the status quo and start a revolution in audio, video, publishing or politics when number crunching nay sayers argue it isn’t viable or possible. Thank God there are some politicians like Ron Paul, no matter how much I may despise some of his policies nor want him elected, that challenge the notion that we should do something “with a clear value proposition” as an end goal.

Your final argument that we should look at “history of business and technology” as a role model is an excellent one. Unfortunately, I am afraid you haven’t. Most of the radical innovations that we rely upon each day came about from those bold, radical, free thinking, passionately absurd people who chose to do what their hearts desire led them to regardless of a clear value proposition.

A Great great response to a sometimes complicated and complex issue. Kudos to the otherwise unknown Rod.  David shouldn’t you reply?

What did we do to piss off China? or The art of Non-Branding by..

Let’s see, our children keep getting their lead based toys taken away from them, our tires keep going flat, we have the worst case of Montezumas revenge from the seafood, my dog has been sick for weeks and won’t fetch, my teeth are falling out and the family art project with the aquadots has caused everyone to pass out and now this…

If you have purchased a Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 product since August 2007 the product may be infected with a virus.  Kaspersky Labs, a maker of anti-virus software, has alerted Seagate to the existence of a virus found on at least one Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 product. Seagate has traced this issue to a small number of units produced by a Maxtor sub-contract manufacturer located in China. 

Seagate quickly put a stop ship to units leaving the facility as soon as the company learned of the probable infection. All units now leaving the facility in question have been cleared of the virus and units in inventory are being reworked before being released for sale.  However, some affected units may have been sold to the public before the problem was detected.

Seagate has posted a warning on its website about its Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 hard drives. According to the posting, Seagate traced the issue to a “small number” of units produced by a Maxtor Chinese sub-contractor.

The effects of this virus are minimal.  According to Kaspersky the virus is the Virus.Win32.AutoRun.ah, a molar virus that searches for passwords to online games and sends them to a server located in China. It also deletes other molar viruses and can disable virus detection software. All of the known games affected are Chinese with the exception of World of Warcraft.  The following games are affected.WSGame
91.com
QQ
Woool
rxjh.17game.com
TianLongBaBu
AskTao
Perfect World (Wanmei Shijie)
World of Warcraft
A word to the wise, Baidu is one of the hottest internet properties in the world and China has a population of 1.3 billion, about 130 million of whom are Internet users, an online market second in size only to the American market. Having said that, Could the next big headline be, “Baidu users infected with worlds worst virus…”?

SearchBoth; Pitting good versus evil.

In an effort to confuse and confound internet searching even moreso, SearchBoth has decided to add more functionality. Forget the fact that most people really don’t know how to use search properly in the first place, SearchBoth had taken a novel approach in that it would combine the results from rival search engines. And you thought that Yahoo and Google had combined forces?  Hah! But there is one problem with this idea. Rather than re-doing an already busy page, SearchBoth has decided to just clutter the page with a additional tools.

SearchBoth.com places websites side by side on one split screen in order to make comparing the results of any two websites simple and easy. The site started out with just Google and Yahoo but now offers Ask.com, MSN, DogPile, MetaCrawler, Alta Vista, LookSmart and WebSearch as well. Users can select any two search engines and view them side by side on one split screen. Cool concept but…

SearchBoth.com has also included the ability to search travel sites side by side as well with the top 12 travel sites. Users can search Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity, HotWire, CheapTickets, SideStep, Kayak, CheapFlights, Travelation, TravelZoo, PriceLine, Orbitz, and CheapOAir side by side as well. Cool idea but…

Although these features may be useful, the UI harkens back to a pre-millenium design where designers and engineers would vomit information onto a page thinking that “less was less” and more was not enough.

If I’m wrong, correct me and show me the way. I can be swayed.

The Top 30 Social Network Sites for Baby Boomers

 With Baby Boomers and Generation Jones (the long-lost generation between the Boomers and Xers, born 1954-1965, 26% of all U.S. adults) receiving huge media attention in Western Europe, and now increasingly in the U.S.  It has only been natural that marketers flock to them like moths to a flame.

Boomers and Jonesers were both born during the post-WWII 20-year boom in births, but they were raised with very different experiences, which is why so many credible organizations and individuals have been validating the GenJones concept, and spending big chunks of cash targeting Jonesers and Boomers.

Now that they have reached the pinnacle of their spending capabilities, social networks and their advertisers are now trying to seperate them from their cash with the premise that they should connect, explore and share with other likeminded Boomers.

Having said that, we have compiled a somewhat uptodate list of sites.  A quick glance through of all the sites and we noticed that some had obviously have been well-funded and designed, and that others looked more like those old subdomain tripod/earthlink/geocities sites. The top three that caught our eye were reZOOM, BOOMj and BoomerGirl.  They had clean layouts,  and yet were  visually interesting and inviting. It made you want to drill down a little further.

http://www.myboomerplace.com/
http://www.e-seniors-village.com/
http://www.boomersint.org/
http://www.babyboomerpeoplemeet.com/
http://www.bbhq.com/
http://www.babyboomers.org/
http://www.grandtimes.com/index.html

http://www.eons.com

http://www.boomj.com

http://www.myplanafter50.com/

www.topretirements.com

www.boomertowne.com

http://www.mycircles.com

http://www.genbb.com/

reZOOM.com

Boomer Girl

eldr

Redwood Age
eGenerations.com
Boomer Time
Growing Bolder
Boomer Living

TeeBeeDee
Life Two

My Boomer Place

My Primetime
Second Prime Time
Maple and Leek (UK)
GrownUps (NZ)

Wanobe.com (UK)

The top 10 Social Music Widgets

In an effort to help you streamline your ability to find and listen to and share the music you want, we are including some widgets that may help you:
Mercora Music Matrix-This widget allows you to select nine (9) artists to be displayed in the matrix. Each artist image is linked to a biography type information page with links to their music and other useful information.

Pandora Widget-Stream Pandora from your desktop. Pandora is a pretty nice app. The music is free and is tailored towards your tastes. Just hope that Congress eases up on them.

Qloud– This one is going to have some steam behind it. The Qloud My Music application is a revolutionary music service that delivers online music to users how they want it – legal, cost-free, on-demand and linked to their personal music libraries – and where they want it – inside social networks where they can share music with and discover it through their friends. By supporting OpenSocial, Qloud will dramatically expand its availability on social platforms and accelerate adoption of its popular music service.

Qloud delivers free, on-demand music directly from a web browser, leveraging an iTunes plug-in to connect users to others in the community with similar musical tastes, and provides a Qloud Facebook application for sharing music with friends. The company’s investors and directors include Revolution Chairman and CEO Steve Case and former AOL, Yahoo!, Warner Music Group, EMI Music, and Island Records music executives.

Mini Streampad Music Player for your blog-The Streampad Player Widget allows you to put a mini Streampad player right on your blog. All you have to do is put the url of your blog and it will find any mp3 files you have posted.

Sonific-Dive in! Find the music you like, create your playlists, make your widgets, grab the code and add it to your profile page, site, blog or photo album. Artists, Labels and Producers can also add their own music to sonific’s catalog.

Tourb.us-Ever find out the day after one of your favorite bands played a show you didn’t know about? We’ve had that happen too often and we hate it. Now you can find out ahead of time so you’ll be laughing at your friends when they find out the show is sold out. Every fan gets their own custom RSS feed for all the shows they’re attending. And every band and venue has their own feed for all of their upcoming shows.

LastFM  Share your music anywhere, Last.fm widgets for MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, your Blog, a website, the possbilities are endless!

Seeqpod-Currently in Beta, SeeqPod’s first consumer site empowers users by allowing them to search and discover music and video all over the Web. Our intelligent software robots work with targeted crawling systems to auto-submit content to the site. This, combined with user submissions, results in a large and rich search and discovery index. This process can be viewed in real-time via the PodCrawler.

Yourspins-YourSpins is a new kind of music community for fans who want to immerse themselves in world of remixes. Within YourSpins, you’ll be able to share your mixes of top songs with others, rate and comment on other mixes – and chat, mail and IM other people too. Plus you can make your own unique ringtones to be sent to your phone. Each user gets their own homepage, with all their mixes and ringtones listed. Soon, we’ll introduce blogs for each user, but for now, all mixes can be exported to your own blog by pressing ‘Blog this mix’ on the mixpage.

Snocap We love the premise of this site. SNOCAP’s products include:

  • SNOCAP MyStore – allows “stores” to be embedded anywhere on the Internet where html can be edited
  • SNOCAP Linx – a flexible solution for those who wish to seamlessly integrate content sales into a website
  • P2P Plug-in – allows P2P technology to be used in a copyright respecting manner

Lastly, we realize that the likelihood that every social music site may have a widget, it takes a while to review them. So Just crunch on these for awhile and let us know about some that you think we need to check out.
 

Social Retailing. Going to the mall with all my social networking friends.

So you really thought that this social networking thing might not catch on in the mainstream? Well guess what? Why don’t we mash the mall with Facebook or Myspace and see what we get? Social Retailing.

A New York-based designer has come up with a mirror equipped with infrared technology that sends a live video feed to any cell phone, e-mail account or personal digital assistant device selected by a shopper. OMG u looook so goood!

Christopher Enright, chief technology officer for digital design company IconNicholson, said putting these mirrors outside store fitting rooms meant women could go shopping with their friends — remotely.

Essentially, you can be anywhere in the world and your friends or relatives can be elsewhere and yet you can all talk, and view what you are trying on.

Using the interactive mirror, a shopper’s friends can then text message back with comments about the outfit IconNicolson  which has rolled out this  “social retailing” vision, has mashed up social networking and bleeding edge communication technologies with youth shopping habits – to target young adult shoppers. In part, the interactive mirror can send a live video feed to any cell phone or e-mail account selected by  the shopper.

Shopping will now take on new meaning. But the question is, isn’t part of the fun of shopping at the mall, travelling in large packs, hanging out in the food court, and essentially buying nothing? Time will tell, but at the least, we can add anew term to the ever-growing lexicon of social media terms. 

Search Quotient

 I came across this site this morning and thought it was cool, but….

SearchQuotient.com looks at a URL and key words then instantly reports a composite score reflecting a website’s ranking on major search engines. The higher the “SQ”, the higher the ranking on search engines. SearchQuotient’s staff then offers a customized plan for increasing the site’s position on major search engines.

Only one  problem: The site’s “free” tool didn’t work. Talk about a bad first impression! Which begs the question,  Who should be at fault? Transmedia Group, who released a Press release this morning or Search Quotient for not testing to make sure their tool was ready before releasing the tool?

Either way, though there are lots of free tools out there that do virtually the same thing. I’m sure they would like another shot at proving that what they have to offer works.