Here’s all the news that’s fit to blog from last week and beyond…

1. Perhaps the biggest news of all is the Gartner prediction that blog numbers will level out in 2007 at about 100 million (you can listen to the podcast here). Of course the blogosphere is all a-twitter, can’t say as I care one way or the other – if things level off, it’s still a massive number, and I’m a firm believer in quality rather than quantity. In the long term, a blogosphere comprised of 100 million engaged participants has great deal more influence than that of a billion dilettantes.

1. Yahoo! and comScore Networks released a study* called, Engaging Advocates through Search and Social Media. In a nutshell,

  • The Internet has significantly impacted how consumers talk about and recommend brands [I hate this use of the word “impacted”]
  • Word of mouth – a trusted source of information – is amplified online to reach significantly larger audiences
  • “Brand Advocates” have emerged online as primary influencers, with at least a two to one rate of converting an actual friend or family member to buy the same product or brand.
  • Brand Advocates are incredibly valuable to marketers because they are better connected consumers with a larger sphere of influence.
  • In identifying these Brand Advocates, the researchers found that post-purchase, fully half of them “talked” about their purchases online, and they tend to be positive more often than they’re negative (which makes sense, no one wants to talk about how dumb they were to buy something unless there’s something seriously wrong with it – and we all know what happens then).

    1. The New York Times has decided to add tagging tools to online articles. I would like to point out that Canada’s own Globe and Mail has been doing this for some time (just click on the “share this article” link).

    2. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced that Wikia, his for-profit company, will be giving users free software, computing, storage and network access PLUS 100% of advertising revenues generated by their sites. I call this the “Google/Crack Dealer Model” – give it to them for free, gobble up marketshare, obliterate the competition and then start charging (or placing revenue-generating ads) in barely noticeable dribs and drabs and make your billions.

    1. Again with the New York Times: the paper has dubbed 2006 “The Year of Everybody” (or, “Brought to You by You”) which I think might possibly be the best headline ever (the story also reminded me of this great video which I’d almost forgotten about). A excellent analysis of the notion “user generated content”, and a reminder that really, nothing’s new that’s under the sun.

    Last Friday
    1. After taking forever to comprehend the value of The Diet Coke and Mentos Experiments (and FYI it really does work – explosively) Coke has decided to feature YouTube stars in a holiday campaign and encourage a little user-generated content with a side of viral. Unfortunately, there’s also a dreadful holiday greeting from Tim Kopp, VP Interactive Marketing viewable here. Cringe with me as he repeatedly and unconvincingly uses the word “cool”.

    Last Thursday
    1. This MediaPost article explains that:

    Social networking sites including MySpace and Facebook are driving a bigger portion of traffic to retail sites than a year ago, according to new research by Hitwise. Social sites are driving more than 6% of retail traffic, up from 2.9% in 2005. MySpace alone accounted for about one-third of that traffic.

    *Which brings us to a special pet peeve of mine. I like original research – I do not like quoting third-party accounts of research or press releases. I want to read the info for myself and provide my own take (i.e. the recent MSN blogging numbers from Asia). But it is often incredibly difficult to find the original data, and when I do (in the case of your typical press release) the damn thing doesn’t even have links to the companies it’s promoting (which is totally nuts). Why must you all make it so difficult? Do you not want me to cover your news? Please, please: toddle on over to Social Media Release and find out how to package your product for optimum consumer use and enjoyment – mmmkay?

    Have a great weekend!

    1 Comment

    1. Great round up as usual Maggie and lots of link pleasure for leisurely Sunday clicking!

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