Archive for the ‘surfers’ Category

The (not that) global conversation

June 7, 2007

I stumbled upon an interesting post on Gaping Silence (great blog, by the way) and commented it before realizing the post was allmost one year old. I liked this provoking thought:

You get a myth which diverges radically from the reality. The myth is that this is where the Web-for-everyone comes into its own, where millions of users of what was built as a broadcast Web with walled-garden interactive features start talking back to the broadcasters and breaking out of their walled gardens. The reality is that the voices of the geeks are heard even more loudly – and even more disproportionately – than before

Phil, the author of this post also gives a few figures from a study conducted among american students (march 2006):

MySpace is huge, and Facebook’s even huger, but Web 2.0 as we know it? It’s not there. 1.9% use Flickr; 1.6% use Digg; 0.7% use Answering a slightly different question, 1.5% have ever visited Boingboing, and 1% Technorati. By contrast, 62% have visited and 21% It’s still, very largely, a broadcast Web with walled-garden interactivity.

I had a look at the most recent worldwide comscore figures today and paid attention to some emblematic sites of web 2.0. Here are some of those figures:

  • Facebook is doing good with a global reach of 5.1%, 22 monthly visits per unique user and an excellent average of 10 minutes per visit
  • Social bookmarking remains very niche: Delicious has 0.5% of global reach, only 1.5 monthly visits per unique visitor and an average of 1 minute per visit (and a quiet limited growth on the last 6 months)
  •, the technorati champion, has slightly better results than delicious with 0.5% reach (5 times more than boingboing), 1.9 monthly visits per unique visitor and 1.5 minutes per visit
  • Twitter is still tiny: less than 0.1% reach, 1,8 monthly visits per unique visitor and 2,7 minutes per visit (this doesn’t include usage on mobile devices)
  • Google, Microsoft properties and Yahoo are the only properties with more than 60% reach worldwide. Microsoft is by far the champion of the minutes spent on its network (overall and per user)

You also have some 2.0 big guys out there: like wikipedia (27% reach), youtube (22%) or myspace (14%) but I remain with the impression that our perception of the market is a little biased by our blogging and social networking own experiences.

Reach is not a central element of the new marketing but are the audiences of web 2.0 important enough for the major brands? I don’t think so.

I don’t want to say that the conversation doesn’t make sense. Au contraire! Nevertheless, many people haven’t joinded the global conversation yet. The web 2.0 will lead brands to redefine their marketing mix. This will be a matter of proportions (how much do I withdraw from TV to invest in conversational monitoring and marketing?), of marketing goals (Which marketing objective will be fulfilled thanks to conversational marketing?) and processes (How do I spread the consumer feedback in my company? How does it impact my value proposition?).

Don’t get me wrong. the reach of the social media is growing (not booming) and brands already need to consider this phenomenon but let’s remain realistic and face the facts: We are maybe overhyping the conversation…. or overhyping marketing through social networks.

Am I wrong? What is your interpretation of the web 2.0 figures?


You can never go far enough

March 31, 2007

The first question of my FAQ was “How far should I go in the dialogue with the users? Can I accept controversy on my website? What moderation level is acceptable?”

I don’t start with the easiest one :). I sent a mail to Joseph Jaffe to ask his opinion about this. He was very kind to reply and told me that “you (brands) can never go far enough”. In that matter, AOL showed the way with the famous “Is internet a good or a bad thing” campaign (UK) followed by an open discussion on their website (Unfortunately, I don’t think this was archived).

Of course, there are famous cases that went a little out of hand (Vichy France, Chevy Tahoe or the first version of the Coke zero blog) but in those 3 cases, there was a lack of awareness of what the new web was all about.

The womma set some rules that comes down to the Honesty ROI:

  • Honesty of Relationship: You say who you’re speaking for
  • Honesty of Opinion: You say what you believe
  • Honesty of Identity: You never obscure your identity

I tried hard and in vain to find examples that respected the womma code and that ended as a fiasco. On the other hand, except the AOL case, I don’t know any brand that dared to bring a controversial debate on its own website.

Should they? Isn’t the risk bigger than the potential benefit?

Let’s take extreme examples here: Should an SUV manufacturer or an energy company open a forum on global warming? Should Nike talk with its customers about children labour? Should a fast food giant open a debate on obesity related health issues?

What I usually answer on that question is that this conversation is happening anyway. The choice is not between let the conversation happen or not, it’s between participate or not.

But, IMHO, that matter becomes a little more complex when you represent a local branch of a multinational company (often with limited power to influence the value proposition).

Anyway, I try to present a set of rules:

– Think first 🙂 and understand how an open dialogue will serve your company objectives

– Respect the womma code

– Don’t bring controversy about your brand where there wasn’t (even if I can imagine exceptions to this rule)

– Be transparent on the moderation rules (if any) and know the difference between critic and trolls

– Be transparent about your sphere of influence (especially for local branches of multinational companies): Are you just an advocate of your employer or can you transform the feedback into a new value proposition?

– Do not enter that kind of action if you don’t have a clue of what the new internet is all about

The “you can never go far enough” of Joseph Jaffe could be one of the taglines of the book he will publish in october. I’m confident that Jaffe’s analysis and rules will be much more relevant than mine…

Reminder for myself: include the book in my letter to Santa along with a better english.

Thanks for asking!

March 28, 2007


I spend about 50% of my time at work preparing and giving training sessions in Belgian branches of big corporations. The topics of the trainings I’m giving for the moment are “deep dive in cyberculture” and “Best practices in digital marketing”. I really enjoy doing those presentations especially for the Q&A following my lectures.

Here is what I see as the FAQs of the advertisers today. I believe this apply beyond Belgium.

How far should I go in the dialogue with the users? Can I accept controversy on my website? What moderation level is acceptable?

Is online advertising making sense without a decent website?

Are there examples of 2.0 initiatives made by traditional brands that went totally out of hand?

How can impressions be compared to television GRPs?

How intrusive should I be? (expandable formats, videos with sound on by default)

What does interaction rate (only available for rich media formats) tell me about the impact of my campaign?

– Does the long tail change anything to the way I should communicate with my target group? 

Why on earth do people use sites like second life?

Of course, I also get a lot of questions about ROI and measurements. I have (my) answers to those questions based on some hard facts, experience and a little common sense. I’ll post about that in the coming days but if you feel that you have a relevant contribution to make, please shoot.

The web 2.0 lurning curve

March 26, 2007

Which percentage of web 2.0 users are contributors? Which percentage are just viewers? What’s the penetration of social bookmarking? What’s the level of education of the web 2.0 users?

A survey conducted by David White and completed by 1369 respondents (41% in the EU – mainly UK – and 59% outside EU) gives us interesting data about web 2.0 usage.

2 links to discover the results:

PDF summary (with charts and pies)

– The online summary (with the percentages)

The surprise comes from the high ratio of contributors. I wonder it the panel of respondents is realy representative and properly weighted.

(Net)working class heroes

March 22, 2007


“By placing intelligence at the edges rather than control in the middle of the network, the Internet has created a platform for innovation.”Vinton Cerf, chief internet evangelist, Google.

The concept of class struggle developed by Karl Marx between proletariat (working class) and bourgeoisie (capitalists). Owners of the means of production.  

Marx believed that this antagonism would lead to a revolution leading through communism after a transition phase called “dictatorship of the proletariat”

The French futurist, Joel de Rosnay describes a new form of class struggles between infocapitalists and the ProNetariat. Infocapitalists (aka Mass Medias) organize scarcity of the information and try to force the use of their channels. They now have to face the ProNetariat (made of blog, vlogs, wiki users) who organizes a massive and collaborative production of information.  Consolidation after consolidation of the media groups, consumer lost face in their information broker. Infocapitalists face a confidence crisis (49% of Americans regard their traditional medias as highly professional versus 72% in 1985. This is mainly due to concentrations and suspected collusions between the media and the political elite) combined with the emergence of interactive information, narrowcasting and social networking websites, broadband and web technologies growth, folksonomy and coregulation. Besides a pure technological reality, a collective consciousness raised in parallel.

This analysis is not new. Far from it, even… but I really like the analogy with Marxist utopia. But, without the painful transition period. So far, the offensive of the infocapitalists couldn’t stop the movement of history. The collective intelligence of the internet users overpowers the centralized intelligence of the media elite. But the ProNetariat won a battle, not the war.

The war for net neutrality continues.

Credit: I found this video thanks to David’s blog

internet bubble (gum)

March 19, 2007


The Belgian food sector is only using 1% of its advertising budget online. This figure is surprising since it’s now proven that a vast majority (close to 100%) of the Belgian internet population is eating!

I just received a “food barometer” released by IAB Belgium. In this study, there’s a affinity ranking by product and we learn that it’s among the surfers that you find the highest percentages of chewing gums eaters (69% of chewing gum consumers are surfers). Chewing gum is followed by veggie food (67%), cereals (67%) and products with fibres (67% as well).

Overall, we see that the Belgian surfers are not very satisfied by the local food websites and that the quality of the website could convince a minority (23%) of the surfers to switch brands.