torsdag 23 juni 2011

Make Making Money

Hands up – I admit I am a techno-skeptic. I hate technology for the sake of technology, I want technology that actually benefits me and improves my life. Apple’s iPad – what’s the point of the iPad? You can’t connect it to your work network and it still doesn’t support Flash. Social media, what is the point of Social media? If I want to communicate with someone I’ll either ring them up on my (okay I’ve actually got a smartphone!) phone or call round and see them. But then along comes Google and they are reportedly taking social media ‘citations’ as part of their ranking algorithm so I am suddenly forced to start paying attention.

What is a Citation?, who cares – well I do now because I need to earn them apparently to move my business forward. I have been running my online business at for nearly ten years. In that time we have survived Google's Florida update and all the others through to Panda and managed to grow our business based on good old fashioned link building and website optimization, but now suddenly I have to start paying attention to something else.

Let’s be honest here, I run a commercial website selling ink – it’s not the sexiest product in the world and is difficult to make exciting. Most people actually positively resent buying ink cartridges because the perception is that they are poor value for money so to get positive social media ‘citations’ is always going to be a tough call. So, kicking and screaming I’ve been forced to pay attention to Twitter and Facebook. Do you know what, I have just realised that Twitter is a really useful tool for me, not necessarily for promoting my business or myself indeed, but by being careful about who I follow and building up a list of relevant follows over the past few months I am finding that I spend useful time learning things. My biggest frustration is tweeting and then nobody responding, do I live in a vacuum?

So Twitter for us is becoming a useful resource. Those words are a bit like saying ‘that cabbage was very nice’ not a sentence that I would normally utter! I see friends of mine with commercial sites, who tweet once every six weeks ‘Sale’ or ‘special offer’ and even I understand that is not the way to earn ‘citations’ or anything else worthwhile, you do have to engage with these mediums to get any benefit and that takes time and attention, if you don’t have that time then stick with the trusted SEO methods of link building and optimization.

Continued on the next page

Band Lets Fans Create Customized Album... And Help Sell It (Allowing The Fans To Make Money Too)

from the neat-ideas dept

We're always interested in unique ideas by artists and content creators to both connect with fans and give those fans a reason to buy, and Lefsetz has the latest on how the Kaiser Chiefs, a quite successful UK-based band, is releasing its latest album. You can read the details, from the band's lead singer, at Lefsetz' site, but there are two key things that the band is doing with this digital (and it's only digital) release:

  • Let fans create a "custom" album with custom artwork. The band is effectively releasing 20 songs, and users get to pick which 10 they want, and put them in any order they want -- and then they get a custom piece of album artwork, based on the choices. The website is fun to play around with as well.

  • Then, once you've bought the album, you also get a "fan page" for the unique album that you created, and if you drive others to that page and they buy the copy of the album that you created, you get £1 (the full album costs £7.50).

There are some other little features as well, but those are the two big ones. It's definitely an interesting idea, and I'll be curious to see how it goes. I have mixed feelings on the 10 tracks out of 20 idea. In an era where fans are often much more interested in a few tracks, I could see that making sense, but for super fans, who want to be completists, now it feels like they have to buy 2 albums. Maybe that's okay for the super fans, but I could see some getting annoyed.

As for the money idea, it's definitely a cool idea to test out, but it'll be interesting to see if they provide any data down the road on how well it goes. It reminds me a bit of the similar pyramid scheme that some were discussing a few months back as a way of fighting off infringement. I do wonder, honestly, how much use this really gets. First of all, fans are fans because they like the music, and it almost seems to shift the relationship a bit if you tell them they can earn money promoting you. Still, I'm sure some will, and hopefully they'll make plenty of money in their role as a fan curator.

I know that I mentioned a few things about this experiment that sounds negative, but on the whole I'm all for experimentation and seeing what works and doesn't work. Emotionally, I like both parts of the plan as it seems like a fun experiment. I really do hope it does well, and hopefully the band agrees to share some of the results.

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