Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why do you think they call it data mining? Even the small networks can participate

I wish I could remember where I read the statement that the best advertising doesn't seem like advertising at all. If I see an advertisement that meets my immediate needs - say, a restaurant advertisement when I am hungry for that particular type of food - it's not advertising, but information.

On Saturday, Robert Scoble wrote a post in which he stated that Facebook's redesign steps will make it easier for Facebook to respond to the needs of its users. As part of that, he listed some things that Facebook, with its level of engagement and huge user base, could do:

Yes, we’re having another baby. But look at what did NOT happen on Twitter: not a single diaper company contacted us yet. Not a single maternity clothing company. Not a single car company (yes, we’re going to buy a new one soon). Not a single camera company (already bought a new one for this occassion). Not a single insurance company (I need more). Not a single bank (I need to start saving for another college student). Not a single stroller company (need a new one that can hold two). Not a single vitamin company (Maryam is going through her prenatal vitamins at a good clip). Not a single shoe company (Maryam needs new shoes for pregnancy, and Milan is growing fast too).

That will NOT last.

Imagine we’re on Facebook in a year. Now all of a sudden I can search for all these things and see which items and companies have gotten the most “likes.” Now do you get why Facebook is copying friendfeed?

However, Scoble's example assumes that he will have to go out to get the information he wants.

What if the information comes to him?

And you don't need a user base the size of Facebook to take advantage of the information out there.

Let me give you an example. I happen to have my laptop set up this weekend, and because of this I've been streaming songs via like there's no tomorrow. Streaming them...and liking them.

Hmm...if I were the record company, or some other entity, connected to either Sleepthief or Lunascape, wouldn't this be a good time to connect this FriendFeed user and suggest an album or two that the FriendFeed user may want to purchase?

Now, obviously Amazon has been doing this for some time using purchase data, wish lists, and the like. But there's no reason why other people can't get in on the act.

In one respect, the fact that record companies aren't beating down my door is understandable. Because of my change in blogging emphasis from blogging as "Ontario Emperor" to blogging under my own name, those shares ended up in my empoprises FriendFeed account - an account with a friend base that is an order of magnitude smaller than the ontarioemperor FriendFeed account that used to be my primary hangout.

However, even today FriendFeed has the tools so that someone could search the entire FriendFeed collection of data, look for mentions of Lunascape or Sleepthief, and attach comments such as "That's from the [x] album, which is available here...."

Now this could result in me blocking the commenter, or it may not. It depends upon what I opt into in my FriendFeed settings.

So you don't have to have Facebook-like numbers to engage in needs-based advertising. Heck, you don't have to have FriendFeed-like numbers. Although I'm not sure what information advertisers would glean out of Scrine posts...
blog comments powered by Disqus