Monday, March 31, 2008

PayPerTweet: Get Paid to Tweet

Whether it is an April Fools joke or not, Problogger Darren Rowse caught a lot of his followers' attention when he announced the launch of PayPerTweet. While some see this as an opportunity for generating revenue online, there are some who looks at this as a potential Twitter killer if the number of paid advertisement increases through Twitter.

Without this program today, members of Twitter, in their own way, are already doing their share of promotion. This can be in the form of new blog posts, events, beta invites, and simply pointing users to various websites. In a sense, there's nothing really new about it.

However, with programs like PayPerTweet (and I'm sure there'll be more to come), companies can tap Twitter as a medium for announcement, getting feedback or polling, float an idea, or direct plugs.

Creating a Twitter account is an option for companies but it takes time to establish a following. It only gets a bit easier if you are popular or have the patience to follow people, and hoping they will follow you back. Most users though tend to stay away from corporate or brand twitter profiles as they hardly interact.

With programs like PayPerTweet, companies can course their campaign to users who are known for accepting fees to make a plug. This is similar to text advertisements but limited to 140 characters. This can also mean extra revenue for those who are using it to promote various interests and topics.

On the downside, Twitter users who participate in this kind of program may have to control themselves on the number of plugs they'll make versus non-paid plugs. Else, they may lose a lot of followers and be tagged as a Twitter commercial spammer. On the extreme, this may dishearten users if several programs will be offered by various companies that shall compete with PayPerTweet as this will result to more spam.

It will be interesting to see how long or far will a program like this go. The concept of unfair competitive advantage may not be sustained as the 140 character space is not as tough compared to a blog.

Unlike in a blog where attracting regular readers takes time, in Twitter you can decide to follow users and some of them do also follow back. The rate card for every campaign varies as payment can be made based on the number of Twitter plugs and number of followers.

One model is to negotiate a fee with individual Twitter members and agree on a rate. Maybe 1 to 5 dollars per plug and for every 100 followers.

Another would be having a group to tweet a message. As click through can be monitored on whose Twitter message traffic it came from, payment can also be split and be based on the number of clicks.

Is advertising through Twitter by its users inevitable? Yes I think so. It is happening already.

As I implied at the start of the post, PayPerTweet is an April Fool's Joke. Nevertheless, the whole idea is possible and am seriously thinking about it. ;) Happy April Fool's Day!

Related post:

Engadget leads Top 100 Blogs by Blog Juice (as of March 2008)

If you are listed here, help us spread the word.

Engadget takes the lead in our 3rd Top 100 Blogs by Blog Juice update.

The ranking of blogs listed here was based on blog juice. Its rating is based on Bloglines subscription (40%), Alexa ranking (15%), Technorati ranking (30%), and inbound links as per Technorati (15%). This is what I found as of March 31, 2008.

I highlighted those who are new, gained an increase from the last update to this one, and those who got their highest score to date.
  1. - 9.9 (highest since July 2007 update)
  2. - 9.7
  3. - 9.5
  4. - 9.5 (new) - 9.5 (gain)
  5. - 9.4
  6. 9.3 (highest since July 2007 update) - 9.3 - 9.3 (highest since July 2007 update) - 9.3 - 9.3 (gain) - 9.3 (highest since July 2007 update) - 9.3 (highest since July 2007 update) - 9.3 (highest since July 2007 update)
  7. - 9.2
  8. - 9.1 (highest since July 2007 update) - 9.1 (highest since December 2007 update) - 9.1 (gain) - 9.1 (highest since July 2007 update) - 9.1 - 9.1 (gain) - 9.1 - 9.1 (highest since July 2007 update)
  9. - 9 - (gain) - 9 (gain) - 9 (gain) - 9
  10. - 8.9 - 8.9 - 8.9 (highest since July 2007 update) - 8.9 (highest since July 2007 update) - 8.9 (highest since July 2007 update)
  11. - 8.8 (highest since July 2007 update) - 8.8 (highest since July 2007 update) - 8.8 - 8.8
  12. - 8.7 - 8.7 - 8.7 - 8.7 - 8.7
  13. - 8.6 - 8.6 - 8.6 - 8.6 - 8.6 (highest since July 2007 update) (new)
  14. - 8.5 - 8.5 - 8.5 - 8.5 - 8.5 - 8.5
  15. - 8.4 - 8.4 - 8.4 (gain) - 8.4 (highest since July 2007 update) - 8.4 - 8.4 - 8.4 - 8.4 - 8.4 (new) - 8.4
  16. - 8.3 - 8. 3 (gain) - 8.3 (new) - 8.3 - 8.3 - 8.3 (gain) - 8.3 - 8.3 - 8.3 - 8.3
  17. - 8.2 - 8.2 - 8.2 - 8.2 - 8.2 - 8.2 (new) - 8.2 - 8.2 - 8.2 (highest since July 2007 update) - 8.2 (gain) - 8.2
  18. - 8.1 - 8.1 (gain) - 8.1 - 8.1
  19. - 8 - 8 - 8 - 8 (new) - 8 - 8 - 8 - 8 - 8 - 8 (new)
  20. - 7.9 - 7.9 - 7.9 - 7.9 - 7.9 - 7.9 (gain) - 7.9 (new)
If you have a blog and your blog juice is in the range of the ones listed above, please post a comment and will add you.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Six Principles to Create Project Ideas That Stick

I first heard of Chip and Dan Heath's book "Made to Stick" through a blog post made by Guy Kawasaki last year. It also had a Stickiness Aptitude Test where I tested a project idea of forming a blog advertising network at that time. The idea passed that test. Today, my blog advertising network is still growing and have done 50 campaigns to date.

The book Made to Stick is an important resource that can be useful to product and services creators. It forces us to admit and deal with the curse of knowledge. As we learn and become knowledgeable on something, it is hard to imagine what it was like not knowing it. It affects our ability to communicate. This is where we get cursed in the process.

As a trainer and writer, this curse has affected my writing and teaching abilities. There are a lot of things that I assume to be no longer relevant or too basic. Only to realize later, upon being contacted, that a specific audience segment wants to know more about it.

According to Chip and Dan Heath, a sticky idea is something that is understandable, memorable, and effective in changing thoughts or behavior. The six principles of Made to Stick is abbreviated as SUCCESs (Simple Unexpected Concrete Credible Emotional Stories). Here is my understanding and how I relate to it based on experience.
  • Simple
    A product or service must communicate a single and most important value in order to be perceived as simple. Providing more choices hinders decision making and recall. Use what is already in the market for easy identification.

    When I launch the blog advertising network, my pitch to prospective bloggers is that this is similar to the paid blogging programs to date (citing sites) but the dealing is more on a personal level.

    For advertisers, this is an entry level managed blog marketing campaign at a small amount that can help them gain website traffic from various sites and through search engines.

  • Unexpected
    Getting your target audience attention is very important. It must be unexpected to give the surprise factor. The blog advertising program was first launched to bloggers who are also club members. It ran like that for nine months and it was a membership privilege that was unexpected.

    The same also to advertisers where the first batch are also club members, the advertise now and pay later scheme made the offer fairly attractive and caught those participated by surprise.

  • Concrete
    Make it easy to understand and memorable. I believe that in this project, being able to continuously experience it, that includes not running out of ad assignments to be given to bloggers in the network, allows it to be alive today.

  • Credible
    A program in order to be credible must have some authority in it and even testable as well. For the blog advertising campaigns, my ad placements are not limited to client sites but also mine and use such to demonstrate sample results in terms of traffic from direct visitors and search engines.

    Rolling out the program with 20 bloggers who are part of the club immediately helped in establishing it. Last October, more bloggers were added and mostly referred by those in the network already.

  • Emotional
    A product must appeal to the emotions of the target audience. In the case of blog advertising network, the program was designed to appeal to the interest of bloggers who would like to explore making blogging a revenue-generating activity. To advertisers, it is a means to gain visibility while remaining frugal in advertising expenditures.

  • Stories
    Get people to act and be inspired. Sharing sample stories of successful campaigns to prospective clients is important.
Made to Stick is one book that definitely deserves a two thumbs.

Related post:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blogging Connections and Upcoming Events

The coming two months will surely be interesting due to numerous events about to happen. Some of them includes:
Here are some blog posts that I enjoyed reading:
  • Connie Veneracion shared pictures of her recent food trip in Boracay. Just found out that we have the same allergy to shrimps.
  • Pamela Angela's encounter with Reese Witherspoon makes me so envious. I love Elle Woods and know the feeling of wearing grandma's clothes (worn a long yellow cocktail dress while singing "Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko" during Linggo ng Wika in high school aahhh!).
  • Jove Francisco's post about his recent coverage inside the Presidential palace, where allies insinuated that the worst is over, gives you a feeling that PGMA is really affected on what is going on, no matter how her supporters tries to put up a show.
  • On a related note, John Nery also wrote how Jun Lozada may lose his groove. I can't help but think how long can Jun Lozada sustain what he is doing now. Perhaps he should also start blogging. I met this guy twice (casual hi and hello), both in Microsoft events, I think he can use blogging as a medium pretty well.
  • AteSienna posted a reaction to how much money are being spent by the rich folks Brian Gorrell cited in his blog, in comparison to the poverty situation of the country.
  • Liz blogs about how much time she spents online surfing the web and social network.
  • Dave Llorito says jobs are not scarce. In fact, Entrepreneur magazine is looking for part time writers.
  • I can't help but laugh after reading the scrap notes that Aileen gets in some social networking websites. Lots of them in Orkut. I think I have to learn how to disable the scraps portion of it.
  • I'm going to the library later to see if the movies reviewed by the Wily Filipino is available.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Plus, Minuses, Interesting (PMI) Thinking Tool

In Edward De Bono's Thinking Course, the first thinking tool that he shared was the PMI (plus, minuses, interesting). It is a broad scanning tool that I think most of us can one way or another identify with.

The PMI is an attention directing tool as it requires your attention towards
  • plus points
  • then minus points
  • lastly, the interesting points
I tried using it in my blog post assessing the recent Google PageRank downgrade. To use PMI effectively, attention must be focused at one point (plus, minuses, and interesting) at a time. It is this "will" to look at a particular direction at a time that makes it so important.

Prejudice can't be avoided. However, with PMI, prejudice is used to explore the subject matter. Rather than use intelligence to support a particular prejudice.

PMI is ideally used when we have no doubt about a situation and instantly decided that we like it or otherwise. We can start by doing a PMI. Afterwards, observe and react to it.

Try it!
Related notes:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Creating Valuable Free Prizes to Boost Success Chances

For those who have been part of my mailing list community and trackers of this blog for quite sometime now, I've always been a believer of giving away free stuff.

This reached the point that close friends were questioning my business model and how do I intend to survive with such method.

Of course, through the years, that free prize business model has refined and by experience, it really works especially when it is something valuable. Some of these includes:
  • Free attendance, drinks, food, and raffle items to get togethers and networking events. If I recall correctly, I've organized 4 to 5 big ones held in venues like AIM Acceed and National Sports Grill in Manila. Have organized similar activities in Cebu City, Davao City, Zamboanga City, Tacloban City, Legaspi City, Virac Catanduanes, Cagayan De Oro City, among others. These activities were key in boosting the growth of the mailing list community and got sponsors some exposure as well.
  • Free reports and presentation files
  • Free e-learning lessons (e-books)
Giving the above for free, of course, consume resources but its long term effect are worth it. These activities also sets my offerings apart from those who are trying to do the same today.

However, not all free prizes are repeatable. Their relevance is dependent on the time it was given and what were the wants (rather than needs) of the target audience then.

I just finished reading the book Free Prize Inside by Seth Godin. I agree that ideas need to be cheaper to build and faster to market. This is why giving free e-learning lessons, such as the e-commerce workshop online at that time, came in handy as the offering can already be given while the materials are still being developed.

It also satisfied a lot of those who joined then that got them to refer the program to other folks. Some even forwarded the lessons that were sent through e-mail. This success led to the Club and publication of my 2nd book.

I created three more similar programs although the quality of work and time spent in building is not the same as the first one. As a result, the benefits that was hope to be gained was not realized.

But those that didn't work out should not stop people like us from creating new free prize innovations that can generate valuable long term results.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Secret: 13 Years of Freelancing

I started venturing into full time freelance in mid-1995. It started with my first article that was published in the September 1995 issue of PCWorld Philippines and two months later paved the way for my first outsourcing project in a major holdings company based in Cubao, Quezon City that year.

All these years, I still get reminders from family and loved ones about the uncertainty of my path being freelance and all. However, I never really felt fear that much compared to others who have gone through the same freelancing stage.

While reading Rhonda Bryne's book "The Secret", I realized that I had it, felt it, and subconsciously knew it. I've always set my mind that I'll be a self-supporting freelancer and no doubting words stopped or de-motivated me from living it.

As stated in The Secret, what we set our minds into is what we attract. Whenever we doubt ourselves or our capabilities, the more things will not likely work out as we attract those circumstances.

I've set my mind of being able to do some stuff this year and I know that I'll be able to make it. At times when I doubted myself, it feeds and create more doubt. Our expectations and desires can be powerful enough to resonate, if we really want to, and all events shall fall into place to make it happen.

The book also encourages us to be thankful or have gratitude to the things we have. Whoever, whatever, has helped you to be where you are today, be thankful for them. This sense of thankfulness also makes us patient on other people's shortcomings for we see their value, past and present, to who they are in a bigger picture.

Visualizing a successful situation motivates you to get into action and make that happen. Having to travel a lot this year and maintain two households requires everything to be on a clear budget and well-planned activity schedule. The attitude I took that I'll be able to manage and maintain resources affected all of my activity sequencing. Before I knew it, am actually set for action beyond my goals and have programs laid out up to the end of this year.

How about you? What's your secret?

Related post:

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Call for Sponsors: iBlog4: The 4th Philippine Blogging Summit

iBlog4: the 4th Philippine Blogging Summit is all set! We are aiming for 150-300 newbies and professional bloggers to attend this FREE event on April 26 at the Malcolm Hall, College of Law, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

Pre-registered attendees will get a delegates kit. Two snacks and lunch are also provided.

Event registration shall be open in the official website soon.

We are now looking for sponsors. As this is a non-profit event, all fees will be paid directly to suppliers by sponsors. This includes:
  • 2 Major Sponsors (P33,000 per sponsor)
    This includes a table booth space for the event, a sponsor talk slot. Logo posted in the website, badges, posters, and streamers.
  • 3 Minor Sponsors (P13,000 per sponsor)
    This includes a table booth space for the event. Logo inclusion in the website, streamer, and poster.
  • Bandwidth sponsor
    Provide wireless Internet connectivity and 350 wifi cards at the event. Sponsor must have desktops or laptops available where attendees can do live blogging. This includes a table booth space for the 2 day event.
  • Video/podcast sponsor
    Provide video and audio documentation of the event. This includes a table booth space for the 2 day event.
  • Name badge sponsor (taken)

All sponsors will be included in all website marketing activities, collaterals, streamers, posters, and link love from the community.

Parties interested can e-mail
John Fajardo at john_fajardo79 (at) yahoo (dot) com
and me at digitalfilipino (at) gmail (dot) com.

Monday, March 03, 2008

14 Challenges in Staying Remarkable

For those of us who have been in the online business for quite sometime, ideas do get dry out from time to time especially when failures have been encountered. Some are due to poor execution, others bad timing, or the market is simply not ready for the product or service.

In areas where we've done well, the pressure is on to launch something better and remarkable.

Seth Godin's Purple Cow was an enlightening book and gave interesting insights that I've been contemplating on lately. Some of them are:
  1. Changing user or customer behaviors
    Whether we like it or not, some customers tend to outgrow their need for us.
  2. Seth encourages product creators that instead of adjusting the product to fit to the user, change the user's behavior to make the product work better for them.
    • Invest in new products
      If a product's future is unlikely to be remarkable, accept that it is a dying product and invest in something new.
  3. Can your product catch on?
    When you thought of an a new idea or product, consider:
    1. How easy is it to spread the idea?
    2. How often will people pass it on to their friends?
    3. Does the target market segment mingle or talk to each other?
    4. Are they close?
    5. Do they believe each other?
    6. How reputable are the people who will spread the idea?
    7. Is the idea a one-time spread or will it keep passing on?
  4. Find the group that is most profitable
    Instead of targeting everyone, choose customers that can deliver the results you like and are able to spread your ideas.
  5. Competition and underserved market
    List competitors who are differentiating themselves through their target market segments. Assess their impact to your niche. Consider launching a product that directly competes with what you are offering.
  6. Lead by being different
    Explore ways where you can attain leadership by being different with what you do or offer.
  7. Give marketing budget to designers.
    I'm thinking. If publishing 1000 books would cost P150,000, if I give that to designers who can launch something new and cool to compliment my site, what can possibly happen?
  8. Measure for growth
    Whether an initiative works or not will depend if you regularly measure performance.
  9. The opposite of remarkable is very good
    This is hard. It means I have to stop being contented by doing very good.
  10. What can you do for customers that loves what you do?
    Taking care of existing customers can be a big challenge as some of us tend to get busy in getting new ones or we began taking them for granted.
  11. Where does your product end and marketing hype begins?
    I think this is a double edged sword or for start-ups, either one gets compromised.
  12. Make a truthful positioning slogan worth passing on.
  13. Create a business card worth passing on.
    This includes having vital information at the back of it.
  14. Do you want to grow? Have you test your product, service, market limits?