Why Netvibes is becoming a B2B company

7 Oct

For a long time, Netvibes was my favorite web product. They really took aggregation to another level, and I especially enjoyed their dashboard as the news junky that I am.

But today, the reality is that tablet home pages are replacing this B2c product. But Netvibes has entered another space; a B2B space, leveraging its dashboard technology and applying it to b2b intelligence.


In july 2011, the company released Social Pack, a social media analytics solution.

This week, Netvibes is hitting the market with a $499-per-year Premium otpion including mobile optimization but also more intelligence features for reputation managment. As a brand, you can monitor negative and positive comments going around the web about you, and get a quick snapshots of trends with charts.

The truth is that it matters immensely. One customer in two or more relies on the opinion of Internet users.


An online service delivering deals and content carefully selected for the men from the Internet generation

4 Oct

When you have a web product that is very well-positionned and relevant for a given target, the possibilities are endless. And that is exactly what Manpacks is doing.

A lot of early-stage Sillicon valley companies don’t work enough on their brand identity and their positioning when they get started. Manpacks is a start up that doesn’t seem to have this problem.

The logo speaks for itself. There is a lot of monetization that can take place when you do such a good job of connecting with a specific audience. The male audience from the Internet generation is a highly engaged one too.

From October 3, 2011

The secret of successful emarketers

18 Nov

What is the secret to online marketing? How does one build an efficient acquisition or retention campaign? how do you target the reactive audience that will generate the right leads? What is the golden tip of successful online marketers?

Well the secret is that there is no secret. Emarketers learn from experience and if there’s any rule, it’s this:
good emarketers are humble.

How many times have you thought “this creative will not perform well”, or “this banner is terrible”, or “this microsite or landing page will not convert” only to find out that you were wrong? Well you’re not the only one. It’s a classic.

Online conversions and web performance mechanisms work in mysterious ways! The best way to work with them is to test! Testing, testing, testing! The numbers don’t lie.

It’s that simple. Get a good tool for testing and stay humble as an emarketer, refrain from assuming that you already know everything and test things. You will be surprised (and successful)!

Email is not dead

6 Jul

One of my recent posts was about social media and the fact that it’s rapidly gaining territory in replacing emails in the way that people share content. However, just to clarify, I don’t think that email is dead. In fact, a lot of emarketing experts will argue that it’s still the best marketing channel in terms of ROI.

We, in the Internet industry tend to forget that email is still growing significantly; a lot of businesses (especially in other industries) still haven’t been taping into this marketing channel at all yet. Retail is one of them: according to an April 2010 Annual Merchant Survey by the E-tailing Group, 79% of retailers looking for ways to improve their web sales are planning to increase the number of targeted e-mails sent to customers. Refining site search is only on the table for 72% of them.

In May 2008, an Ipsos study showed that more than 67% of consumers prefer email over other online vehicles at the time and 65% believed this will continue for five years. They were correct.

Here is some encouraging data as well from Litmus: in the best email campaigns, 77% of people fully read the message. As for forwarding, on the most viral campaign, 9% of readers forward the email. Not bad!

Why Zoosk is a scam

21 Jun

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Zoosk is the new hip online global dating web site. With about 50 milion subscribers and sites in 12 languages worldwide, they are a proud competitor of match.com.

They didn’t do much really besides starting as a facebook app and capitalizing on that to generate 200,000 subscribers very early on in their history. It’s been growing since, again, thanks to a tight integration with Facebook. They also got lucky with hip hop artists T-Pain and Flo-rida deciding to write a song called Zoosk girl. The video went pretty viral even though it’s a terrible song that sounds more like Gwen Stefani than hip hop. It truly lacks attitude but it generated buzz and traffic. Zoosk is a little bit like the parasite that eat other people’s food.

The buzz around this start up is completely out of proportion, and so is its level of funding (it has raised another 30 million in VC capital recently). It was also selected by the Wall Street Journal as one of the “next big things”. What does that really mean anymore though? not so sure.

The start up did have a smart strategy to monetize early on as part of their business plan. It includes virtual coins that users can buy in addition to subscription costs. But see this is the ultimate problem; the word in the industry is that the only thing that they are truly investing in is Marketing. Are they investing in their matching algorithm to be more relevant for people or anything like this? No. Shayan Zadeh the founder was asked in an interview what the history of the company was, and his story was “originally, we wanted to create a marketing company”! This is a pretty unbelievably unethical company.

They are investing in offline ads pretty agressively with the millions that they raised, but when the trend for online dating space is to have more specific sites, smaller dating communities and more relevant and complex matching algorithms, Zoosk is simplyforgetting to pay any attention to that and to be relevant. They are more like a gimmick.

They take their marketing seriously and their monetization seriously, but when you operate in a space as personal as dating, neglecting to take that side serisously is a huge mistake. They just want to get as many subscribers and make as much money as possible. I don’t see them continuing to grow. They’re bound for a rude awakening and I anticipate this to happen soon.

The mystery of company acquisitions in the high tech world

11 Jun

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Seeing the acquisitions in the high tech world can sometimes be puzzling. But there is almost always a very simple explanation and it’s almost always the same one: companies buy their competitors. Not so much cause they want to integrate the product with theirs; they just buy them so that it’s no longer a threat.

Sometimes acquisitions are obvious as a company would buy a very immediate competitor: Adobe bought Macromedia, in the email deliverability and email reputation space, Return Path acquired Habeas,  or sometimes, they are less obvious, for example Google purchased blogspot, Yahoo purchased MyblogLog.

The sad part about it is that these decisions never include a plan to integrate the products well, streamline or improve the user experience…it’s never anything like that. In fact, pretty often, and mostly when the products are B2C web products, the company that is purchased ends up being a cumbersome piece in the purchaser’s web offer, a piece that doesn’t seem like it belongs there.

And some acquisitions make no sense whatsoever: for example Adobe acquired Omniture. I don’t think I will ever be able to make sense of that one…

Why did social media grow as fast as it did?

4 Jun

Who even writes personal and direct emails anymore to keep in touch with their friends or share their pictures with them? Soon the answer will be nobody.

Who types in keyword searches to crawl the web and find content anymore? Well a lot of people and it will be so for a long time. However, the answer used to be almost everybody. Today, people increasingly turn to other people to find, read and explore relevant web content, and this trend is growing exponentially.

Why did social media grow as fast as they did? Because it’s viral and because it’s quick. It only takes one click to make it happen, and these features capitalize on one of the seven human capital sins: lazyness!

“Social media is the new search”. From a marketing perspective, It can now drive as much traffic as SEO and SEM. It’s become a fact. The monopoly of Google and Search Engines in the traffic space is over.

You know what that means? Google and Facebook (who drives 44% of social sharing on the Web according to TechCrunch) are now immediate competitors.

Google is “facebookerizing” itself with Google Buzz.

Who would have thought that two companies that didn’t seem like they occupy the same space originally would end up competing like crazy for the same thing?

One thing is for sure, this will be more entertaining than watching football.