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Media Matters: Podcasting, Vidcasting and other Online Media Tools, Tips and Trends » 2009» April

Archive for April, 2009

The Yelp! Conundrum

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Yelp logo

A San Francisco restauranteur thought he was pretty web-savvy, inviting 50 of the most prominent Yelp! reviewers to eat at his new digs — for free — before they opened. The crowd came, with friends, and ate well on the house. The next day, the reviews were pretty good. But the restauranteur was surprised to find that the reviews had absolutely no effect on his business. Inversely, one hears all the time about restaurants that get slammed on Yelp but do just fine.

The moral is that consumers online are more discerning than we give them credit for. Sure, some people will look at the most recent review and get immediately turned off by someone’s complaint that the waiter was rude, or the food was cold. But most people know that other people have their own weird obsessions, and habits, and failings, and you really can’t trust just one person’s review. The average person who uses a Yelp or Citysearch quickly assesses the aggregate of the reviews and makes their decision based on the balance.

The worst thing you can do is have your friends go online (or heaven forbid, do it yourself under a fake name) and write fake positive reviews. People can smell a fake review a mile away. But contrary to the commonly-held belief, we don’t think it’s wrong to respond to your critics in the comments — as long as you respond formally and professionally, fully own up to being the business representative, and only correct inaccurate information.

Authenticity: The Authoritative Source

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Authenticity book image

When you’re talking about authenticity, you really have to namecheck Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore. Their latest book is called, of course, Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want. It’s a great read, and they’ve got a nicely-designed website and blog to go along with it.

Today’s cry for authenticity is really about staking a claim against the advertising, PR and marketing models of the past, oh, century. The reason being, they’ve stopped working. We’ve heard something advertised as FREE! for so long, the word has lost its meaning. We know now that FREE! really means, “we’ve found a way to stick you with the price, and more, somewhere along the line.” I remember the first time I got roped into one of those record club deals, when I was 15, and got stuck buying a bunch of cassettes by Taco and 38 Special that I didn’t want. I learned my lesson, and since then I’m wary of things marked FREE!, same as we all are.

The same thing goes for much subtler branding strategies. We’ve become highly-attuned sensors of graphic design, and we’re able to sense when a Yelp review is written by the person who owns the restaurant. The only way to really reach people today is to be yourself, to let your company/non-profit/etc. tell its own story. Pine and Gilmore delve deeper into the meaning of authenticity- check out their site and the book.

Our Kindle Prediction, Revisited

Monday, April 6th, 2009

The e-book market is growing fast, according to the New York Times. The news comes on the heels of an announcement whereby Google gains (well, buys) permission from the world to scan and sell out-of-print titles online. While physical book sales continue to fall, e-books for the Kindle and Sony Reader grew 55% in 2008. And a new app for the iPhone that allows users to read e-books on that device was downloaded almost half a million times so far.

What does that mean for the publishing industry? Much the same as it does for the fading newspaper industry- it’s time to innovate, and quick. Combining media into new, exciting packages is the way to keep readers interested and engaged. Kindles can download and play mp3s- why not include an interview with the author with our e-novel? Or how about a cookbook author talking you through their favorite recipe? Your audience is consuming media in a variety of formats, and it is time to create your content in a variety of interesting ways to meet them.

Audio and Videocasting Audience “Way Up”

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Podcasting News reports on a new Arbitron study that shows a significant rise in the podcasting audience for both audio and video. According to the study:

* The audience for audio podcasts grew 38% in the last year;
* The audience for video podcasts grew 45% in the last year;
* About 30% of regular Internet users have downloaded a podcast;and
* People listen to or watch podcasts primarily on their computers (about 75%).

That last fact is particularly fascinating. We make the assumption that the podcasting listener is on the go, listening on their iPods or Zunes, when in fact fully three-quarters of people are listening directly off of their home computers. Meanwhile, the sales of portable players continues to gain ground, with a full 37% of consumers owning one. Thanks to Podcasting News for pulling together this info! LINK