Archive for the 'KickApps' Category

Apr 22 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

Published by under KickApps,Social Media

I wrote this post for the KickApps blog.

TechCrunch’s Mobile Crunch blog reported yesterday that Verizon Wireless is now accepting user reviews and ratings of products in their catalog. The author of the post and many of the readers that left comments seem to think this is a bad move on Verizon’s part.

I concede that it may seem strange for Verizon to be opening themselves up for potential abuse, but I see this as not just a brave move but more importantly, an extremely smart one. By doing this, Verizon goes from being just a transactional vendor to providing something that’s potentially really valuable to customers during the buying process. This translates to trust.

Most people have a love-hate relationship with mobile phone service providers (don’t we all feel like we’re constantly being screwed over by them), and this is a great way of saying to potential customers:

“We want to provide you with really helpful information about which one of our products best meet your needs and what better way of doing this than hearing it from people like yourselves rather than us.”

Just as powerful though is that Verizon gets immediate feedback and insight into what customers and prospective customers think of their products. They hear first hand what features they like and want, and dislike and don’t want. Point is, if you listen to what your customers want, you’ll always have a hit. This is exactly what the guys from Threadless have built a thriving business on. Fact is, in today’s world of the social web, any company that doesn’t care to listen to customers will find themselves looking like this in short order:


I know what you brand and media people are saying right now, “I can’t have an unruly mob take over my website and brand!” Fair point. But, there’s nothing wrong with curation, in fact, I’d argue that it’s crucial to the customer experience.

As a consumer, I want reviews that truly help me make a purchasing decision, that inform me about the pros & cons of whether a product will meet my needs. That’s true value. Having to read abuse for the sake of it is not.

Establishing the guidelines for delivering that value is crucial for any brand or web publisher, call it community rules if you’d like (CafeMom and Flickr do great jobs of this). Consumers won’t begrudge you for wanting to make sure that they get real value out of this feature. Someone saying that this particular model’s “battery life is horrible and won’t be good for travelers” is valuable, whereas, “Motorola phones suck!” isn’t. But, you have to be honest and transparent about this. Again, think real value not just fluffy reviews that blow a lot of sunshine.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. User-generated product reviews help establish better relationships with customers that emanate from trust and value
  2. How are you providing more value to customers and prospective customers?
  3. Set the rules of engagement, but be honest and transparent about it. Establish what the feature is for and what is acceptable and what isn’t. Use clear and straight forward language that’s easy to understand
  4. Listen! Listen! Listen! To what your customers are prospects are saying and you’ll always have a hit product

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Feb 10 2009

New Media Knowledge Interview

Published by under KickApps

I just found the article that NMK interviewed me back in October, 2008.

“Politicians have a unique opportunity to engage with people directly through a highly interactive and cost effective channel. No longer are you bound by expensive ad buys or are you beholden to editors or news programmers, you can talk to your electorate 1:1 at anytime,” he told NMK.

US Presidential Elections Get Social, October 3, 2008

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Dec 01 2008

NY Post Writes About KickApps

Published by under KickApps

KickApps Getting Real Social With VC Funds

KickApps, a New York-based provider of software for building social networks, has raised $14 million in venture-capital funding, the latest sign that VCs believe that its business model can keep kicking and ultimately, see a tidy profit, despite the current recession.

November 30, 2008

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Sep 04 2008

NPR’s Digital Spin with Mario Armstrong

Published by under KickApps

I was on NPR’s Digital Spin, hosted by Mario Armstrong, tonight to talk about social media. Also on the show was Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester. The 30 minutes conversation went really well. Mario did a great job asking Jeremiah and I some very good questions, and kept the dialogue moving. I only wish we had more time to dive a little deeper into some of the points and to cover some that I wish I had brought up. Either way, I hope I didn’t ramble too much and made some sense. Here’s a recording of the segment.

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Sep 03 2008

Sports Video Group Interview

Published by under KickApps

Carolyn Braff of the Sports Video Group interviewed KickApps’ CEO, Alex, and I yesterday about the work we’re doing with pro-sports teams. Here’s the story she wrote.

The idea is to extend that experience from a game within the stadium or in front of the TV set, just as you would in a real live setting with friends and co-workers. Now you’ve extended that, 24/7, online. That’s the essence of what sports teams are asking of us.

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Aug 30 2008

McCainSpace Relaunches

Published by under KickApps

John McCain is using KickApps to power its new social network, McCainSpace. Both presidential candidates have their own social networks now. Talk about a big win for the social media industry. Not only do we now have over 34,000 websites using KickApps but we’re powering one of the two most important social networks out there! Why important? McCainSpace and my.BarackObama are going to be facilitating the most important conversations Americans are going to have this year.

Check out Mashable’s post about this.

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Jun 29 2008

A Targeted 30 Second Spot Online?

Published by under KickApps

A post I wrote on I Said, OK about our experience at KickApps with targeted online advertising.

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