Monday, May 23, 2011

Facebook Fan page VS Website

Q: I’m a small business entrepreneur, and I’ll be introducing a consumer product soon. Should I create a website for my company or a Facebook fan page?

A: I faced a similar question a few weeks ago for my book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. I had three options: create a site for the book, add a section for the book to my existing website, or create a Facebook fan page.

After five minutes of thoughtful deliberation, I decided to add a bare-bones section to my website (which I haven’t gotten around to do yet—which should tell you something) and create a Facebook fan page but not to create a website for the book. Here’s why I did not choose a website:

1. I’m busy. Designing a website is a big deal. I can’t create one by myself so this means I’d have to find a company to do it or impose on my friends. A template or canned package would never make me happy, so I’d end up spending mucho time interacting with whoever is building website for me.

2. I’m impatient. I like to go from idea to implementation in a week or two. From start to “finish” (if a website is ever finished), it’s hard to make a website happen in two weeks.

3. I’m cheap—and picky. The good news about a website is that you can make it do anything. The bad news about a website is that you can make it do anything—as long as you pay for it. I wanted a site that can engage people by letting them discuss the book, post pictures and video, take quizzes, and enter contests. A website can do all this if you’re willing to pay thousands of dollars.

4. I’m realistic. Let’s say that I got beyond the laziness, impatience, cheapness and pickiness and somehow obtained a great website. The next challenge is getting people to visit it. Sure, I’d put the Facebook “Like” button, Tweetmeme “Retweet” button (disclosure: I invested in Tweetmeme), or Twitter “Tweet” button on it, and I’d blog and tweet the hell out of it, but the building traffic is still hand-to-hand combat.

By contrast, here’s my experience with a Facebook fan page:

1. Instant gratification. You get 25 friends, a Facebook vanity username, and boom, you’re in business. It’s still easier to get a Facebook vanity URL than a good domain name. Either that or God was with me a few weeks ago because was available when I looked.

2. Built-in functionality. The social networking functionality you’d want on a website is built into Facebook: commentary, discussion, visitor posting of photos and videos, and reviews. This means you don’t have to figure out how to add this functionality to a website or pay someone to add it for you.

3. Limited flexibility. Facebook fan pages don’t provide the total flexibility of a website, but that is an advantage for people like me because it prevents us from going nuts with features and design. Basically, there are tabs and sub-tabs to play with. A side benefit is that people don’t expect a unique/cool/whatever website because they see that all Facebook fan pages have a similar look and feel. As my boss at Apple, Mike Murray, used to tell me, “Discipline sets you free.”

4. Flexibility. Within the limited flexibility of Facebook, however, there is substantial flexibility. You can choose from hundreds of Facebook apps to add functionality. If you can’t find what you want, then you can ask someone who knows a lot about Facebook like Mari Smith to recommend a developer. That’s what I did, and she sent me to Hyperarts Web Design. Two weeks and $2,000 later, you’d have a custom looking Facebook fan page that looks like this. I would have had to spend more than $2,000 just to buy the domain that I wanted for a website.

5. Curation. Facebook is a more curated environment than the wide-open web. People have to join Facebook, and most people care about their identities and reputation. You can also block orifices and complain to Facebook about them. On the web, it’s much easier for anyone to litter your website with trashy comments, photos and videos, and it’s much harder to get rid of them too. For the better, Facebook is a controlled environment.

6. Inherent spreadability. The best part of Facebook is that there are, depending on who you believe, about 400 million members. In other words, if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world—behind China and India but ahead of the United States. Every time people do something on your fan page, they spread the word about it to their social contacts. This is the holy grail of marketing: unconscious word-of-mouth advertising! I like this a lot better than hoping people will click on a “Like” or “Tweet” button on a website or forward a website’s URL in an email.

Here’s a tip for you. I discovered that you can create a “reveal” Facebook tab. This is how it works: People must “like” the page in order to see its content. I did this with the PDF version of my first book, The Macintosh Way. If people “liked” this page, they were presented with a link to download the book for free. It generated thousands of fans. If you have something you can give away such as a PDF, song, or discount coupon, you should try this.

7. Gratification. I’m a shallow person: I like to increase the number of followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook. Just as there are only two kinds of people on Twitter (those who want more followers and those who are lying), there are only two kinds of companies with Facebook fan pages: Those who want more fans and those who are lying.

I find that getting fans on Facebook is more gratifying than getting followers on Twitter for two reasons: first, on Facebook you pretty much know that a person made a manual decision to “like” your page. You’re never sure on Twitter if your new followers are bots, spammers, clever manipulation of Twitter’s database, or 50-year-old men with a 18-year-old, hot-babe avatar. Second, the follower count on Twitter for anyone who was on the Suggested User List is meaningless. The number of Facebook fans is a much more accurate proxy for the quality of your fan page interactions—or the offer on your “reveal” page.

8. Free. It’s hard to argue with free. I’ve paid nothing to Facebook for all the wonderfulness that it’s provided me. In fact, I would be happy to pay Facebook just as I would be happy to pay for my use of Twitter because both companies provide such valuable services. Until Facebook asks me to pay, I’m more than willing to let it run ads on my fan page. I don’t even want a cut of the ad revenue—keep it, Facebook, you earned it.

What are the dangers and disadvantages of a Facebook fan page strategy vis-a-vis your own website? There are some:

1. You are supporting Facebook’s inexorable ascension to worldwide domination. Is this different from using Windows? (Something I don’t do.) Or buying an iAnything from Apple? (Something I do quite regularly.) I’d rather ride a tsunami than build my own sand castle. Heck, if Facebook helps my book and your product succeed, maybe it deserves to achieve worldwide domination. I don’t care if Mark Zuckerberg is a punk or if Facebook is leaking my data (What is it going to leak—that I like hockey?). All I care is whether Facebook works as a marketing platform. “It’s not personal. It’s just business.”

2. You’re putting all your chips on Facebook. This is true. If Facebook pulls a “MySpace,” your fan page might disappear one day. The odds are, however, that my book will go out of print before Facebook dies. If it does go out of print, then the fate of Facebook won’t matter. On the other hand, if the book achieves critical mass (hopefully, in part because of its Facebook fan page), it won’t matter if Facebook dies. In other words, I don’t care if Facebook implodes as long as it doesn’t implode right away. It won’t.

If you have a long-term corporate perspective as opposed to my short-term, product-introduction orientation, then Facebook’s longevity is a serious consideration. But in the long term, we’re all dead anyway, and you can always start with a Facebook fan page and create a website later as your sales ramp up.

3. Gurus will tell you that won’t get the black-magic SEO juice, brand awareness, inbound links, street cred, etc. of a website. Also true. But then again I can allocate the time, effort, and money that I’m not investing into making a website into other efforts to make the book successful. When all is said and done, either a product sells or it doesn’t. I doubt that the cause of failure will be using Facebook instead of a website although I am betting that using Facebook will help make my book more successful than using a website.

Here’s some inspiration to look at to get your fan-page juice flowing: Starbucks (17 million fans!), The Wave and Mari Smith. These were the sites that I looked at when making my decision. For you, the bottom line is that if you’re small business owner who is busy, impatient, cheap, picky and realistic (shallowness is optional) and want to ride a tsunami rather than roll your own sand castle, then it’s time to consider a Facebook fan page instead of a free-standing website. Kawabunga!

Answer by
OPEN Forum's expert Guy Kawasaki.

Also checkout this video by Change for a Dollar

Monday, May 16, 2011

Apartment prices up and interest rates are going up. The big question for people trying for a dream home with rising equated monthly installments (EMIs) these days is: should one buy a flat or does it make more sense to live on rent and wait for better days to make a purchase?

The average apartment price across the country has risen by 20% over the past year, say market experts. This means your home will cost 10 to 15 % more, based on a 1.5 to 2 percentage point increase in interest rates on your EMIs.

A home loan rate of 11%, up from 9.5% a year ago, implies a 15% jump in the EMI – and the net impact on your property price may be around 35%, taking into account the EMI load. Floating rate loans may eventually see a decline in EMIs, but only if lenders pass on any cost reduction to customers.

Experts say that if your horizon of buying a home is for five to 10 years, a rented home may be a good idea.

“It takes care of uncertainties surrounding EMIs, rising interest rates, high property prices and your cash-flow issues,” said Lovaii Navlakhi, managing director at International Money Matters, a financial advisory firm.

“If you are in a city only for few years renting is the way to live,” added Vishal Dhawan, a Mumbai-based financial planner.

However, if you are looking at your first property and stay in it yourself for 10 years, experts concur that buyers should go right ahead.

“It is not a transparent market and you don’t know if the real estate prices fall, by how much and over what time,” said Surya Bhatia, a Delhi-based financial planner. “Identify the property and buy it.”

But do watch some basic rules, experts say. Do not “over-leverage” to stretch your borrowings, and keep EMIs in a comfortable limit. The thumb rule is that the total EMIs you pay should not exceed 40 to 45% of your household income.

Experts are unanimous that the current market is not for investment as prices might even fall.

“Broadly, residential real estate prices will see a moderate growth of 5-10%, as developers continue to liquidate their stocks,” said Anuj Puri, country head at property consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle India.

Puri said the recommended formula for investors would be to go in for stable, rent-yielding properties while looking out for properties that have potential for appreciation.

Source: HT

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Social networks offer a way to narrow the field of friends : An anti-oversharing crowd

There are times when you just have to tell your friends about something, but not necessarily your Facebook friends. Just ask Becca Akroyd. When Akroyd, a 29-year-old lawyer in Sacramento, wanted to share a picture of her garden, she didn't turn to Facebook. Instead she posted it on Path, a service that lets people share pictures, videos and messages with a small group.
"The people I have on my Path are the people who are going to care about the day-to-day random events in my life, or if my dog does something funny," Akroyd said. "On Facebook, I have colleagues or family members who wouldn't necessarily be interested in those things — and also that I wouldn't necessarily want to have view those things."
Path, which limits friend groups to 50, is among a new crop of Web services that allow people to connect with a handful of friends in a private group. Users get the benefits of sharing without the strangeness that can result when social worlds collide on Facebook. Other start-ups in this anti-oversharing crowd
include GroupMe, Frenzy, Rally Up, Shizzlr, Huddl and Bubbla.
Even Facebook recognises that people don't want to share everything with every "friend." It has privacy settings that control who can see what, but many people find these challenging to set up. So last fall, Facebook introduced Groups, for sharing with subsets of Facebook friends. And in March, it acquired Beluga, a start-up that allows sharing photos and messages with small groups privately.
Last month, Facebook said its users had created 50 million groups with a median of just eight members. It also introduced the Send button, which websites can use to let people share things
with Facebook groups.
"We realised there wasn't a way to share with these groups of people that were already established in your real life — family, book club members, a sports team," said Peter Deng, director of product for Facebook Groups. "It's one of the fastest-growing products within Facebook. Usage has been pretty phenomenal."
No one expects the start-ups in this field — most of which are new and have re
latively few users — to replace Facebook or Twitter. Instead, their creators say that they do a better job of mimicking offline social relationships. NYT

Article from DNA

Facebook driving more traffic to news websites

Facebook is driving an increasing amount of traffic to news sites, but Google remains the top referring service, according to a study published on Monday. The study by the Pew Research Centre's Project for Excellence in Journalism looked at the behaviour of news consumers online during the first nine months of 2010 using audience statistics from the Nielsen.
The study examined the 25 most popular news websites in the US, looking at how users get to the sites, how long they stay there, how deep they explore a site and where they go when they leave. An average of 40% of the traffic to the top 25 news sites comes from outside referrals, the study found, with Google Search and, to a lesser extent, Google News the single biggest traffic driver.
The Nielsen figures did not break down where the remaining 60% of a news site's traffic comes from but the study said much of it stems from direct visits to the home page of a news site.
"Far from obsolete, home pages are usually the most popular page for most of the top news sites," the study said, and were the most viewed part of the site for 21 of the 25 studied.
Google Search was responsible for driving an average of 30% of traffic to top news sites with the Drudge Report and Yahoo! also ranking as major traffic drivers. But social media — and Facebook in particular — is "rapidly becoming a competing driver of traffic," the study said.
At five of the top 25 sites, Facebook was the second or third most important driver of traffic. "If searching for news was the most important development of the last decade, sharing news may be among the most important of the next," the study's authors said.
The website drawing the most traffic from Facebook links was The Huffington Post with 8% of its visitors landing on the site that way. Twitter, somewhat surprisingly, "barely registers as a referring source," the study found.
Only one website in the top 25 — the Los Angeles Times with 3.53% — derived more than 1% of its total traffic from Twitter. On average, 77% of the traffic to the top 25 news sites came from users who visited just one or two times, the study said, with the percentage varying among sites. More loyal and frequent visitors return more than 10 times per month to a particular site. AFP

Article from DNA

Social network users have twice as many friends online

Research finds that one in 10 people has either met their best friend online or believes they will meet good friends on the Web, reports the Guardian.
After clocking up more than a few acquaintances online, it might come as a particular blow for keen social networkers like Barack Obama, or even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself.
But it seems that there really is something in that lingering suspicion that most users of social networking sites have more friends in cyberspace than reality. The average person has in fact double the amount of online friends than physical ones, according to research commissioned by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which found users of such sites have 121 online friends compared with 55 physical friends.
The study also claims that people tend to be more open, confident and honest with their virtual friends than their "real" counterparts.
The results also reveal that one in 10 people has either met their best friend online or believe they will meet lifelong friends on the Web. The findings highlight how social introductions are also changing. Only 5% would ask for someone's phone number whereas 23% are more likely to ask for an email address or a full name with the intention of adding them on a social network.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the Internet provides a vital lifeline to people unable to physically socialise as much as they would like to. Scrutiny of the alleged impact of social networking websites on society at large provided by a separate study found that one in five parents think their children's school results are suffering due to the amount of time they spend on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and other non-educational web pages.
A questionnaire completed by 4,427 adults, suggested that 20% of parents believe their child's education is being hampered by the amount of time they spend on such sites.
The survey, conducted on behalf of TalkTalk's Internet security service HomeSafe, found that children are spending an average of two hours and six minutes a day online. Nearly half of six to 11-year-olds spend one to two hours per day using the Internet to play games but only 10% use the Internet daily to do their homework, results show.
It found that 50% of children aged between 12 and 17 use social networking sites every day while only 16% use the Internet daily for homework. Agencies

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

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Store Count: Subway VS McDonalds

Well its Subway VS McDonalds on the number of store counts. McDonalds was leading this race from long time but now Subway - Eat Fresh is overtaking the giant.

According to a report in, at the end of 2010, McDonald's globally had 32,737 outlets, while Subway had 33,749 stores. In India too, the two brands are neck and neck (in terms of store count in the first week of March), with McDonald's at 211 outlets and Subway at 200.

While in terms of revenue (globally), McDonalds claim that they are far ahead of Subway stores. McDonalds claims that they are at USD 24 billion, while subway is at USD 10-15 billion.

Also McDonald claims that their store are averagely 3 times bigger then Subway outlets.

Anyways both the companies are investing heavily in India and around the world. News are they both are pumping around 550 crore (McDonald - as per Hospitality Biz) and 40 crore (Subway - as per Hospitality Biz)in near future.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bin Laden death big on Twitter--but not biggest

News of Osama bin Laden's death was big on Twitter--but not the biggest so far in terms of tweets per second.

"Twitter traffic spiked to more than 4,000 tweets per second at the beginning and end of President Obama's speech tonight announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden," said company spokesman Matt Graves. Twitter also spread the word of bin Laden's death faster than the official announcement and supplied an inadvertent live account of the attack on bin Laden by U.S. forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Sunday.

For comparison, that was more than the peak rate of 3,085 tweets per second of the 2010 NBA finals, the 3,283 tweets per second of Japan's World Cup soccer victory over Denmark. It's in the same range as 4,064 tweets per second for the 2011 Superbowl.

But it's well short of the 6,939 tweets per second ushering in the new year in Japan. That moment, of course, was very precisely timed, which probably led to a more concentrated burst of tweeting.

Peak tweet rates don't just depend on the magnitude of a news event. They also depend on when the event happens, and in the case of bin Laden's death, it was late on a Sunday night on the East Coast.

The timing likely was convenient for some on the Net. Unplanned surges in interest can swamp Web sites, especially those delivering data-intensive video. When news arrives during off-peak hours, though, it can give sites time to prepare with better traffic capacity and smooth out demand for the information.

There were some problems keeping up, said Keynote Systems, which monitors Internet and mobile data performance.

"Keynote Systems observed that the leading connected and mobile news sites began to experience performance slowdowns and streaming sites too groaned under the traffic load," spokesman Dan Berkowitz said.