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How To Create The Fastest Growing Media Company In The World

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/upworthy-how-to-create-a-fast-growing-media-company-2012-11

eli pariser ted upworthy

On March 26, 2012, a new media startup called Upworthy launched.

Today, it is the fastest growing media company in the world. Upworthy finished October with 7 million monthly uniques, up from 6 million the month prior. In August, it hit four million uniques, up from 2.5 million in July. Its fast growth was rewarded with $4 million from investors.

There are lots of media companies out there, but none have grown that quickly.

Are Upworthy’s growth and business model sustainable? We’re not sure, but either way the stats are impressive. We asked CEO and co-founder Eli Pariser what Upworthy has been doing to smash traffic records every month.

Here’s what he had to say.

Don’t write about politics.

Before he started Upworthy, Pariser worked for a digital, political publication, MoveOn. He and his co-founder, The Onion’s former Managing Editor, Peter Koechley, thought the upcoming election would drive traffic to Upworthy.

But people weren’t sharing much of Upworthy’s political content, so the pair ditched that angle and broadened the site’s coverage.

“We thought, ‘Ok, it’s an election year, people are going to be really interested in politics and the campaign, and we’ll get a leg up that way,'” Pariser says. “The election was our whole argument for starting Upworthy this year. But it turned out to be a total non-driver of growth. Of all our top pieces, only a couple deal with politics or the election.”

It can be tough for startups to let go of initial ideas and pivot to what’s working. But as soon as Pariser let go of! the pol itics angle, traffic soared.

Find story ideas on social media feeds, not other websites.

Upworthy’s curators don’t start their days surfing other websites for news. They surf social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook instead.

Sometimes it’s easier to highlight a conversation than to start a new one.

“We have our team of curators spending all their time looking on the Internet for stuff,” says Pariser. “We go for visible, sharable stories and really stay away from doing more typical, text-driven articles and blogging. We lean into images and videos.”

Focus on Facebook, not Twitter

Upworthy has found that Twitter is small traffic potatoes compared to Facebook. At the end of the day, Facebook is where the most people spend the vast majority of their time online.

“Facebook is a huge piece of the puzzle for us,” says Pariser. “Our Facebook community has grown from zero in March to over 600,000 likes.”

Pariser says Upworthy hasn’t done anything particularly brilliant to juice Facebook for traffic. It just spent a lot of time and energy cracking the social network.

“Honestly, I think part of [our success with it] is we take Facebook much more seriously than many of the other social networks,” he says. “I love Twitter, and Twitter is a fun place to hang out with smart people, but it’s a small fraction of our traffic compared to Facebook. The time and attention most sites spend on [perfecting] their homepages is probably what we spend on Facebook. If you look at our homepage, it’s pretty mediocre.”

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Monday, November 5th, 2012 news No Comments

Mark Zuckerberg Just Said Several Important Things… (FB)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-zuckerberg-search-and-mobile-2012-9

Mark Zuckerberg

In Mark Zuckerberg’s interview at Disrupt yesterday, he said several things that Facebook investors should find encouraging.

Most importantly, he suggested that:

  • Facebook’s mobile opportunity is much bigger than people think
  • Facebook is going to go into the search business
  • Everyone is now “underestimating” Facebook

One of the big concerns about Facebook is that, as its users migrate to mobile, the company’s ability to monetize the users will drop precipitously, thus clobbering Facebook’s revenue. Zuckerberg said explicitly, for the first time, that he thinks Facebook will ultimately make money money per user on mobile than it makes on the desktop. If this proves true–and, importantly, if it happens because mobile revenue per user soars instead of desktop revenue collapsing–Facebook’s revenue growth should soon reaccelerate and then stay strong for years.

Zuckerberg also said that search is a huge opportunity for the company and that Facebook is “uniquely positioned” to go after it. A few weeks ago, we suggested that Facebook could quickly generate an incremental $3 billion of revenue if it jumped into the search business. If Facebook really does aggressively go after the search opportunity, therefore, this could create a major new growth engine.

Lastly, Zuckerberg made several comments about how everyone is now “underestimating” Facebook. Reading between the lines, this is encouraging both for the near-term and the long-term. With respect to the near-term, Zuckerberg knows exactly how Facebook is doing this quarter, and we suspect he would have been very hesitant to use the word “underestimating” i! f Facebo ok were likely to blow the quarter. Longer term, the word choice suggests that Facebook thinks investors are, in fact, underestimating Facebook’s revenue potential.

Now, of course, none of this changes the fact that Facebook’s stock is still expensive (~30X next year’s estimated earnings), which means the market is counting on revenue reaccelerating this quarter and remaining strong for the next several quarters. And none of it changes the concern that, in October and November, employee lock-up releases will likely lead to additional insider selling–possibly a lot of it.

But it does suggest that a new bull story for Facebook could start to emerge.

SEE ALSO: Dear Facebook Employees: Here’s The Truth About Your Stock Price

Here’s what a few smart Wall Street analysts had to say about Zuckerberg’s remarks:

BEN SCHACHTER, MACQUERIE:

  • We thought his comments regarding search over the longer-term were the most noteworthy of the presentation and will drive more discussion about a potential search revenue stream for FB while reigniting some concern about increased competition for GOOG

    1) FB’s long-term focus: Nothing new here, but FB is clearly focused on the longterm and creating value over nexthree-fiveyears.

 
    2) Mobile – Clearly wanted to publically highlight his belief that mobile is fundamentally good for FB. He discussed a number of interesting notions:
        – mobile is absolutely the key and focus for the company

        – on mobile they see more engagement and time spent per user versus desktop, mobile users more likely to be DAU’s and twice as likely to use it six out of seven days a week.
        – over time, he believes that they can make more money per mobile time spent than desktop
        – new iOS app already seeing much improved engagement
        – over time, thinks that mobile monetization is more tv-like than desktop.
        – mobile ads performing better than desktop already and new product on the way, highlighted a few times that mobile is a “huge opportunity”
        – have made mistakes on mobile. Most notably, too early a focus on HTML 5 as opposed to native apps. Correcting that now, though he did note that currently more time spent on mobile web FB than on apps.
        – talked about recent product for mobile app installs. (developers/publishers pay for an install) – not a full public launch, but testing. – intersection of platform and distribution…
 
    4) Search – Perhaps the most notable comments of the presentation were in regards to search and their long-term view that FB has unique assets to help answer questions.
        – already doing 1 billion search queries per day (and not even trying).
        – most searches are to find other people, but many! also fo r pages/brands and apps.
        – stated that search represents a “big opportunity” and that search is one obvious thing they could do in the future.
        – there is already a team working on search, but wouldn’t say how big or clarify if it is doing anything beyond the current search functionality. However, we thought his search comments were the most interesting of the presentation and that he clearly thinks that FB and its social graph are uniquely positioned to improve search in the future.    
 
    5) FB phone/hardwareStrongly stated that a FB phone is the wrong strategy and wouldnt move the needle. Wants to be on all phones…
 
    7) FB’s mission – Reiterated the long term mission is to connect everyone on the planet and make the world more open and connected. Stated that making money goes hand in hand with this mission and that they need to do both in order to do either.
 
    8) Company morale – When asked about company morale, stated that stock price doesn’t help, but focused on the fact that FB has always been controversial and that there is cyclicality in terms of how people think about FB. Right now seems to be on the downside, but he likes that, as he thinks it is when people underestimate the company.
        – When they are underestimated, it gives them latitude to take big bets.

DOUG ANMUTH, BARCLAYS

  • Positive comments on Mobile. Zuckerberg indicated that ! Facebook and its mobile potential are being underestimated. Mobile users are spending more time per person on Facebook than desktop users and are 2x as likely to use Facebook in 6 of the past 7 days (L6/7). We also believe mobile DAUs are likely higher than web DAUs. In terms of mobile monetization, Zuckerberg indicated that Facebook can make more money from a mobile user per time spent than a desktop user, and that mobile ads in their early days are already performing better than ads on the right rail of the desktop. As published in our recent Facebook report from 9/4/12, we estimate Facebook’s mobile ad revenue could be more than $200M this year and above $900M in 2013 driven by higher CTRs and CPMs. Our analysis also suggests mobile ad revenue/user/month could ultimately be higher than on the web as higher engagement and pricing offset the lower number of impressions per visit. See page 2 for our proprietary model, which segments Facebook’s ad business into Mobile SS, Web SS, and Web Marketplace.

  • Search on Facebook’s radar. Facebook currently generates ~1B search queries a day—the majority attributed to people search, but also a meaningful portion related to brand pages and apps. In late August Facebook launched Sponsored Results—ads displayed in the search dropdown bar—to capitalize on this opportunity. However, Zuckerberg indicated that Facebook could do more with search in terms of providing users with direct answers to their questions, likely based on information derived from the social graph. This is likely more headline risk for Google than a real, near-term fundamental concern, but the two companies could ultimately overlap more in search down the line.

BOB PECK, CO-RISE

1) He’s working on Open Graph – this is very impt as it is the! revenue optty I’ve cited (subscription services, app center, gaming).  This is a big part of the potential revenues / upside
 
2) Search is impt and they are working on it.  Once again, this can be very lucrative if done correctly. New revs.
 
3) the reason they are behind on mobile was a wrong bet on technology.  They bet heavily on Html5 and it was a mistake, their mobile apps can be better when native (ie integrated with apple / android)
4) he’s very focused on mobile and realizes how impt it is.  Interestingly, he thinks it monetizes better than desktop.  
 
5) no phone – and I agree with his view they don’t need one
6) he alluded to a model where developers pay for app install as part of app center – once again, impt new revs
7) Instagram – he explained how  buying it sped up development of its platform and improved user experience
 
8) lastly, he seemed more poised than usually and that isn’t easy given the stock performance
 
9) also, I like the continued focus on the long term (much like Jeff Bezos of amzn)
 
10) I was disappointed that there was no discussion about the insider selling….

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Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 news No Comments

All Those E-mails From Pinterest Are Very Good For This Guy

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/all-those-e-mails-from-pinterest-are-very-good-for-this-guy-2012-3


SendGrid CEO Jim Franklin

SendGrid has sent 30 billion e-mails in the three years it’s been in business — and none of them are spam.

SendGrid is an e-mail cloud service hired by Pinterest, Foursquare, Hootsuite, Spotify, job sites, daily deal sites and many other companies.

About 40,000 Web applications use SendGrid, says its CEO  — and Boulder startup icon — Jim Franklin. And none of it is spam because users sign up these e-mails, such as job openings, friend requests and the like.

Franklin says it even coaches its customers on how to do e-mail so people don’t report it as spam.

“One person sending e-mail to another is easy. But an app sending out e-mail is hard. E-mail is a problem for developers,” explains Franklin.

So it’s no surprise that SendGrid is growing at 10% annually — it now sends out more than 3 billion emails per month — and it recently landed Microsoft Azure as a partner. SendGrid will now be the default e-mail service for any app using Microsoft’s cloud, Franklin says. New Azure developers qualify for 25,000 free e-mails a month.

The company is one of the shining stars of the blossoming Boulder startup scene. It began in Boulder’s TechStars accelerator program in 2009 and has boomed from there. It recently landed raised $21 million in Series B funding in January — for a total of $27 million raised so far

As SendGrid uses Rackspace, Web apps that also use Rackspace qualify for 40,000 free e-mails per month.

All who know SendGrid are expecting an IPO in as little three years. One of its VCs, Bessemer Venture Partners, has done over 100 IPOs, notes Franklin. That’s if the company doesn’t accept an acquisition offer before then, says Franklin. 

And if you’re interested in one of the 30 job openings at the company, you might also want to know that the company motto is the 4H’s: Honest, hungry, humble, happy.

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Thursday, March 1st, 2012 news No Comments

His Charity Doesn’t Actually Donate Money

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-dismal-numbers-behind-kanye-wests-charity-which-doesnt-donate-money-2012-2


Last week, The Daily reported that Kanye West‘s charity spent more than a half-million dollars in 2010—but none of that money went to actual charitable causes.

After analyzing federal tax filings, the iPad newspaper found that in 2010, the Kanye West Foundation had expenditures totaling $572,383, but the majority of that went to employee salaries and other overhead expenses.

The charity didn’t even donate a single cent to an actual charity that year. And now, West’s foundation is in the process of being dissolved.

Since it’s easy to get bogged down in the numbers, Statista took The Daily’s findings and compiled information from the foundation’s tax filings to create the below infographic explaining where Kanye West’s money went and what happened to his so-called charity foundation. Complete with West’s stunner shades, obviously.

Take a look below.

Kanye West Charity Infographic

Kanye West Charity Infographic

attached image
 

Now check out Adam Sandler’s embarrassing career by the numbers >>

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Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 news No Comments

Cee Lo Was More Popular Than Madonna In The Super Bowl Halftime Show

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/stats-cee-lo-was-more-popular-than-madonna-in-the-super-bowl-halftime-show-2012-2


Ceelo Madonna

Think headliner Madonna was the highlight of Sunday night’s Super Bowl halftime show performance?

Think again.

According to ClearSpring, the most tweeted about/Facebooked/e-mailed/printed/overall social-media’s most clicked upon celeb of the night was none other than Cee Lo Green.

Cee Lo beat out not only Madonna as the most talked about on the internet during the big game, but also Kelly Clarkson, M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj.

After taking the stage dressed as a band leader and dueting with Madonna on “Express Yourself” and the grand finale, “Like a Prayer,” Cee Lo fans freaked, causing his online presence to surge to over 2,000 percent above normal—and nearly double any other Super Bowl act.

Cee Lo couldn’t be reached for comment but we have a feeling we know what he would say to his competition and haters: “Forget You.”

Check out the chart below that proves Cee Lo’s online popularity:

Super Bowl Chart

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

OpenSky Hits 1 Million Users And More Than $1.5 Million In Monthly Sales

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/opensky-1-million-users-2012-1


John Caplan OpenSky

Fab and Turntable weren’t the only pivot success stories of 2011. Another e-commerce site, OpenSky, went from struggling to successful in about nine months.

OpenSky was founded in 2009 by John Caplan as an e-commerce arm for bloggers. Influential writers could create storefronts alongside their content, but it wasn’t a fruitful business model for OpenSky.

“Last year we were dead in the water,” says Caplan. “We weren’t selling very much. When people are reading they aren’t buying things; they don’t have their credit cards in hand.”

Caplan decided to pivot his startup. OpenSky relaunched in April as a personalized shopping site.  Now e-commerce isn’t secondary to content on OpenSky; it’s king.

The new OpenSky operates like Twitter. It works with 80 industry influencers and celebrities, like Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay and Alicia Silverstone, to create lists of their favorite items.  Users can follow the influencers and buy the endorsed products.  OpenSky holds all the inventory, ships items to users, and splits the profit 50/50 with influencers. Caplan says none of OpenSky’s influencers are investors. They just really like the product.

“It’s like Twitter but our merchandisers [the celebrities who pick the items OpenSky sells] are making tens of thousands of dollars every month from their followers,” says Caplan. Martha Stewart, for example, has 83,549 followers on OpenSky just waiting to buy a recommended rolling pin or mixing bowl.

So far, OpenSky’s pivot has worked wonders. In April, its first relaunch month, OpenSky generated about $66,000 in sales. Last month it generated well over $1.5 million. “Revenue has been increasing 50% month over month,” says Caplan.

In October the 87-person startup raised $30 million. Today, Caplan told us OpenSky crossed the 1 million user mark. About 68% of users are repeat buyers, purchasing new OpenSky items within eight weeks.

We asked Caplan what his margins are like. Despite the 50/50 split, he says they’re pretty good.

“Brands are excited about OpenSky because they want to be endorsed by celebrities,” says Caplan. While brands can’t pay for distribution on OpenSky, they generate a lot of sales when celebrities decide to post their items. Caplan likens OpenSky to Pinterest.  The brands’ excitement makes it easy for OpenSky to purchase, store and sell celebrity-endorsed items at reasonable prices and margins.

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Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 news No Comments

Traditional ads are like homeless marketing – at best you’ve got a glance to get your message across

by: Aoife city womanchile

by: Aoife city womanchile

Homeless marketing – they hold up a sign and hope that passersby will look down, read the sign, then stop, take out their wallet, take some money out, and give it to them.  What’s the probability of that happening?  What are the chances they will even get a glance?  Same thing happens with TV ads, print ads, radio ads, and all forms of traditional push ads.  Where is the value exchange? There is none.

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Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 digital No Comments

The generalization that TV ads are more “helpful” than internet ads is simply false and irresponsible

In the following study published by Harris Interactive and Adweek Media, they show a chart which seemingly shows that TV ads are “most helpful” in making a purchase decision. If you were give the following list of choices —  TV ads, newspaper ads, search engine ads, radio ads, banner ads, and none — and asked to select which was most helpful to your purchase decision; which would you choose? And would you choose that because it was more familiar to you (e.g. TV), seen more frequently, etc. Or is it that banner ads are generally known to be ignored (eye tracking studies show that most users know not to look at the top and right sides of a web page, knowing that banner ads typcially go there).

for new products
where the missing link is simply awareness
TV is very effective
in driving an initial burst of sales
starting pt is zero sales
so if you make people aware
some will buy
11:04 PM in the case of new products
online ads are not great
but you have to break online ads into 2 types
banner ads (push) versus search ads (pull)
search ads are not useful here
because it is a new product and people
wont know to search for it
11:05 PM banner ads may work
because they are for awareness
and they are displayed on pages where people are looking at content
but compared to TV advertising
people have accepted ads as part of the “price” of TV
on the contrary
people have always expected itnernet content to be free
and they have devloped habits to
11:06 PM avoid lokoing at top of page and right side
so banner ads are pretty damn bad at
generating awareness
because people simply dont look
so of the 3
tv ads, banner ads and search ads
tv ads are better in the case of new products where the missing link is awareness
11:07 PM when you get to more established products
the balance changes
the missing link is not awareness
the missing links are further down the funnel
e.g. consideration
modern consumers need more info
they dont just trust an advertiser
and TV ads give them too little info to be useful
11:08 PM banner ads are still ignored just as much as before
but search ads become more important
by looking at what people are searching for
yu know what part of the purch funnel they are at
and what missing link they are trying to solve
so in summary
11:09 PM making the generalization that TV ads are more effective than internet ads is simply false and irresponsible; we must take into account dozens more parameters that impact purchase
decisions


Source: http://www.marketingcharts.com/television/tv-ads-most-helpful-web-banners-most-ignored-9645/


More than one-third of Americans (37%) say that TV ads are most helpful to them in making a purchase decision, while nearly half say they ignore internet banner ads, according to (pdf) a poll from AdWeekMedia and Harris Interactive.

In terms of the helpfulness of ads in other media, newspapers rank second behind TV, with 17% reporting that newspaper ads are most helpful, while 14% say the same about internet search-engine ads:

harris-poll-adweek-media-most-helpful-ads-june-2009.jpg

At the other end of the spectrum, Radio ads (3%) and internet banner ads (1%) are not considered helpful by many people. The poll found also that more than one fourth (28%) of Americans say that none of these types of advertisements are helpful to them in the purchase-decision-making process.

Not surprisingly, the types of ads Americans find helpful vary by age and, slightly, by region:

  • 50% of people ages 18-34 find TV ads most helpful.
  • 31% of those ages 55+ say newspaper ads are most helpful.
  • 40% of Southerners find TV ads most helpful, while only one-third (33%) of Midwesterners feel the same.

Banner Ads Most Ignored
Almost half of Americans (46%) say they ignore internet banner ads, according to the study. Much further down the list of ignored items are internet search engine ads (17% of people ignore), television ads (13%), radio ads (9%), and newspaper ads (6%):

harris-poll-adweek-media-most-helpful-ads-june-20091.jpg

One in ten Americans (9%) say they do not ignore any of these types of ads.

Age and regional differences:

  • 50% of those ages 35-44 and 51% of Midwesterners say they ignore Internet banner ads compared with 43% of 18-34 year olds as well as Easterners and Southerners.
  • 20% of Americans 18-34 years old (20%) say they ignore Internet search engine ads while 20% of those ages 55+ ignore TV ads.

Harris Interactive suggestes that these findings are important because, despite online video and the ability to use a DVR to shift live programming, TV ads remain most helpful to consumers. Conversely, while an internet strategy is essential for a comprehensive ad campaign, banner ads are only considered helpful by a few and are ignored the most, the polling fiirm said.

About the survey: The AdweekMedia/The Harris Poll was conducted online in the US from June 4-8, 2009 among 2,521 adults (ages 18+). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.


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Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 digital No Comments

Padma Lakshmi makes sweet-and-savory love (pics) to …

My colleagues know I have argued against advertising’s ability to do “demand generation” — create need where there was none before. Instead I have always argued that advertising solves an awareness “missing link” for demand that was already there. In other words, a user has a need. Advertising puts a new product or a product that a particular user was simply not aware of before on his radar screen. And after further research, if the product fulfills that need he buys. Advertising rarely creates NEW demand. For example, we buy 4 quarts of milk per week because we have 2 kids. No amount of milk advertising will make us buy 5 quarts, because we simply don’t need it. Or, we’ve just bought a minivan. No amount of advertising, no matter how cool the family or the kids in the ad, will make us buy another mini van. If we just locked in health insurance this year, we are likely not to buy more or to switch, just because it is such a hassle. Make up more of your own examples.

But, I have to say, Carl Jr’s ad with Padma is really really making me want their bacon, barbecue sauce burger.  Or is it just ANY bacon, barbecue sauce burger? Or wait, is there even a Carl Jr around here? hmm ….. I guess I’ll just look at the picture some more…   🙂

Source: AdFreak

Padma devours fast food, Lindsay Lohan goes retro for Fornarina and vampire ads raise the stakes

March 30, 2009

-By Tim Nudd

padma-carls-jrfast-food-xxxx-padma-carls-jr

Carl’s Jr. serves it piping hot.

When we learned in February that Padma Lakshmi was filming a commercial for Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr., it didn’t seem likely that the Top Chef host would make as big a splash as Paris Hilton did with her infamous car-wash spot for the fast-fo.od company in 2005. But Lakshmi has actually put her own impressively suggestive mark on burger advertising with the new ad, in which she makes sweet-and-savory love to a Western-bacon deluxe on the front steps of a city apartment building. Paris Hilton, please pack your knives and go.

read more….

http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/agency/e3ie96e4a3e8c042db21628ca3995645a52

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Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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