The Right Place At The Right Time: My Panel at the Local Social Summit

I will be moderating a panel on day one of the next Local Social Summit happening in London on November 9 and 10 (it’s a two-day event this year). The panel is titled The Right Place At The Right Time: How The Real-Time Web Influences The “local” World.

Its description: The rise of the real-time Web is well documented.Propelled by both the social networking revolution and mobile device ubiquitousness, we’re seeing the birth of new user services and business opportunities. In this panel,  we will explore the time element in the local/social Web and will try to discover what kind of content works well in real-time, what are the benefits for consumers and what kind of business models can be deployed to leverage the
“time” dimension.

My panelists:

People that have been reading this blog and following my Twitter feed know that I’ve been interested in the real-time (sometimes called the Alive Web)and the temporal Web for a few years now.

On day two, I’m also on a panel titled Can Social Media Be Outsourced? headed by Jonathan Ewert from Codero. I’m looking forward to that discussion as well!

It should be an excellent conference with speakers from Yelp, Foursquare, European Directories, Decarta, Mueller-Medien, the BBC, in addition to Greg Sterling, Dennis Yu and Perry Evans.

The organizers have provided me with a 20% discount to my readers but I hear there are less than 20 tickets left. So, hurry up if you want to join us. I will be in London the whole week. If you want to meet, ping me at seb AT needium.com.

in Europe Next Week

Flickr picture by Mollajo

I’m flying to Europe next week.

First stop is London to discuss with potential Needium resellers for the UK market. London is the biggest city in the world in terms of Twitter usage and this definitely shows in the Needium dashboard with more than 1 million geo-tweets per day. We’re looking to discuss with UK-based ad agencies, SEO/SEM firms, newspaper publishers, directory publishers, etc. interested in reselling the white-label version of our product.

Second stop is Majorca for the European Association of Directory Publishers (EADP) conference. I speak on the first day, topic is “Conversational commerce – Why You Should Care What @JoePublic Had For Lunch”. Should be fun!

If you’d like to meet me while I’m in London or at the EADP conference, send me an e-mail at seb AT needium.com

LeWeb '10 Conference Sneak Peek: "Platforms"

leweb10-460x60(2)

Loic and Geraldine Le Meur have just announced the theme to this year’s LeWeb conference in Paris. It’s going to be “Platforms”. You can watch the introduction video here.

The 2009 edition was extremely relevant and it’s probably one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended. You can read the various posts I wrote when I was there. I believe the Le Meur’s have a created a world-class conference and I urge everyone (especially my European friends and contacts) to attend, You can register here.

Twitter is Not Going Away

This week, TechCrunch published international traffic growth trends for Twitter and they are impressive. The source is Pingdom.

Pingdom took a look at Google Trends for Websites traffic data for Twitter.com to see where the service is experiencing the fastest growth in terms of monthly usage. Again, that means its findings are far more fit for deducing overall trends than they are able to accurately detail Twitter’s user numbers, since a lot of people use desktop and mobile clients for tweeting.

Regions/countries that are growing are:

  • Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela
  • Asia: India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia
  • Europe: Italy, Spain, Russia (Pingdom mentions that most European countries are growing but that these three have experienced extra sharp growth)

Additional pieces of data in the TechCrunch article:

For your information, Twitter COO Dick Costolo at the beginning of this month said they are currently at 190 million users, who are collectively posting some 65 million tweets per day. And last April, Twitter’s lead engineer for its International team, Matt Sanford, said over 60% of registered Twitter accounts were already coming from outside U.S. borders.

What it means: I wanted to specifically write about Twitter’s international growth following this tweet from my friend Perry Evans. He wrote last week, following a European trip where he probably met many European media companies: “Twitter, you have a major uphill battle in Europe. Everyone I met in media circles this week seem exceedingly skeptical of your prospects”. I wrote back to him on Twitter saying: “They were skeptical of Facebook two years ago as well…”. When I spoke at the EADP conference in 2007, many senior Yellow Pages execs in Europe didn’t think Facebook was relevant. History proved them wrong. Ten years ago, I could have written a blog post titled “Google is not going away”. Most senior execs at media companies didn’t think Google would be a direct threat. Twitter has been growing and will (has?) become an important international media company. To dismiss them is to risk being fooled for a third time.

LeWeb '09: Sessions I'm Most Looking Forward To

LeWeb, the major European conference (the equivalent of the Web 2.0 Summit in North America), just released their complete schedule for the next event happening in Paris on December 9 and 10. The theme of the conference is the real-time Web.

As I wrote about a month ago, I’ve been selected as one of their official bloggers. Here are the speakers I’m most looking forward to:

  • A fireside chat with Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s creator. Will be interesting to hear his vision about where Twitter is going.
  • Ryan Sarver, Director of Platform, Twitter. His background as a “local” expert makes him an interesting speaker for anyone interested in local media.
  • “The Platform Roundtable” with representatives from Facebook, Ning, LinkedIn, Ustream, SixApart, MySpace and Twitter. Expect the discussion to revolve around APIs and open ecosystems…
  • A fireside chat with Robert Scoble. Always interesting perspective as a good observer of the Web scene.
  • Niklas Zennstrom (of Kazaa-Skype-Joost fame). I want to hear more about their new venture in the music industry Rdio.
  • The Money Roundtable with a group of very interesting VCs including David Hornik and Fred Wilson. Expect them to say they’re still cautious but that 2010 should be a good year.
  • “The rise of emotional Web” by Yossi Vardi. Should be a fascinating session.
  • Gillmor Gang Live. Always explosive!

Loic Le Meur, the organizer, often has surprise guest speakers as well. If you want to attend and haven’t bought your ticket yet, you can get a 10% discount if you use the following code: BLOG09 .

LeWeb '09: Sessions I'm Most Looking Forward To

LeWeb, the major European conference (the equivalent of the Web 2.0 Summit in North America), just released their complete schedule for the next event happening in Paris on December 9 and 10. The theme of the conference is the real-time Web.

As I wrote about a month ago, I’ve been selected as one of their official bloggers. Here are the speakers I’m most looking forward to:

  • A fireside chat with Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s creator. Will be interesting to hear his vision about where Twitter is going.
  • Ryan Sarver, Director of Platform, Twitter. His background as a “local” expert makes him an interesting speaker for anyone interested in local media.
  • “The Platform Roundtable” with representatives from Facebook, Ning, LinkedIn, Ustream, SixApart, MySpace and Twitter. Expect the discussion to revolve around APIs and open ecosystems…
  • A fireside chat with Robert Scoble. Always interesting perspective as a good observer of the Web scene.
  • Niklas Zennstrom (of Kazaa-Skype-Joost fame). I want to hear more about their new venture in the music industry Rdio.
  • The Money Roundtable with a group of very interesting VCs including David Hornik and Fred Wilson. Expect them to say they’re still cautious but that 2010 should be a good year.
  • “The rise of emotional Web” by Yossi Vardi. Should be a fascinating session.
  • Gillmor Gang Live. Always explosive!

Loic Le Meur, the organizer, often has surprise guest speakers as well. If you want to attend and haven’t bought your ticket yet, you can get a 10% discount if you use the following code: BLOG09 .

In Europe Next Week

I will be in Europe next week for business, certainly in France, in Germany and in Italy and possibly in the UK. I’m still firming up meetings and if you’d like to meet while I’m there, send me an e-mail at sprovencher AT praizedmedia.com

I will also be back in Europe, beginning of November, as I will be speaking at the first Local Social Summit in London. The event is happening on November 3rd at the [praized subtype=”small” pid=”5af504ca5d02026b527046262985199a” type=”badge” dynamic=”true”] and tickets are still available. If we don’t have the chance to meet next week, we can also schedule something that first week of November as I will probably be traveling to other countries before or after the event.

My Thoughts on the Friendfeed Acquisition by Facebook

Facebook, the leading global social network, dropped a bomb on the sociosphere on Monday by announcing they had bought the very innovative social streaming service called Friendfeed. I gave an interview to Marketing Magazine (Canada’s Advertising Age) explaining the rationale behind the acquisition. Here are the highlights:

  • First and foremost, Facebook bought a great engineering team and excellent technology assets. The 12 Friendfeed employees and co-founders were innovating at a breakneck speed. Two of the co-founders, Bret Taylor and Paul Buchheit, used to work at Google where they respectively created Google Maps and Gmail.
  • It’s all about the search war. Google vs. Facebook. Algorithmic search vs. real-time search. Machines vs. humans. Facebook had pretty much been beaten by Twitter on the real-time activity and real-time search front. Rumor has it that when Twitter turned down a rich offer from Facebook to buy them, Facebook decided to take a better look at Friendfeed.
  • The transaction has been estimated at close to $50 million by the Wall Street Journal. According to the newspaper, “The company paid roughly $15 million in cash, with the rest in Facebook stock that vests over several years and would be worth roughly $32.5 million based on the $6.5 billion common valuation an investor recently placed on the company.”
  • Such an exit for Friendfeed is very good given that their traffic had plateau-ed at 1 million users per month, they didn’t have any revenues and they never managed to become popular outside of the Silicon Valley digerati. They created amazing and innovative technology though.
  • The founders did not sell because they wanted to cash out. They already did that with their Google options (Buchheit was employee #23 at the Mountain View search engine). They must have felt integrating Facebook was the right move at the right time.
  • The Friendfeed team will pretty much become Facebook’s R&D department.

What it means: Smart move by Facebook. Very good move for Friendfeed. Working inside Facebook will give the Friendfeed team more resources to execute on their innovative ideas. It gives Facebook great technology, amazing people and faster execution.

I’ve seen similar moves happen in the Local Media industry in the last few months. For example,

  • Truvo, a directory publisher in 6 European countries, acquired yelloyello, a startup from the Netherlands, in December 2008. Truvo transformed yelloyello into Truvo Labs to leverage social media technologies within the Truvo network.
  • AOL, who recently restructured to put “local” as one of their corporate strategic pillars, bought Patch, a US citizen journalism startup, and Going.com, a US local event portal in June 2009.
  • Herold, the Austrian Yellow Pages owned by European Directories, made a strategic investment in Tupalo, a social Yellow Pages site from Austria, in June 2009.
  • Canpages, a Canadian directory publisher, acquired ZipLocal, a social Yellow Pages destination site in June 2009.

Qype: "People + Algorithm Better than Algorithm" (EADP 2009)

Heard from Stephen Taylor, [praized subtype=”small” pid=”e05a4250d652484974e47fda5bd84b6b” type=”badge” dynamic=”true”]’s CEO, this morning in a presentation titled “Competition from new business models”. As most of you know, Qype is a social local site in Europe (we could say it’s the equivalent of Yelp there).

Here are some interesting data points about them:

  • The largest local review site in Europe (also present in Brazil) – 6 languages
  • Reviews in 140 countries (I think they allow anyone to add listings from any country)
  • 9M+ unique users in May 2009 (+350% in 12 months)
  • 1m+ reviews
  • They monetize using display advertising, Google AdWords, eCom and transaction revenues and premium business listings

As Taylor said, their business leverages the fact that anyone with a keyboard is now an author, that anyone with a browser is a publisher. With the rise of social media, presentation of facts/data is not enough to sustain an audience. It’s now about sharing, community, connecting with other people. I think he described it perfectly when he said “people + algorithm is better than algorithm”. Today, we’re in the fourth phase of the evolution of search (he calls it social search) which includes editorial, automation and topology.

As for future developments, Taylor offered the following advice: recognize where audiences are and he mentioned the long tail of the Web (smaller sites, blogs, forums, etc.). He said that’s where people are connecting. Qype is ready for those new opportunities via their open API currently in v1 (which exposes geo content). v2 will allow content to be written.

What it means: I think Qype is a very interesting company. They’ve been able to corral the voice of the European consumers. I agree with the future direction, of trying to embed yourself in smaller web sites. I was a bit disappointed by their monetization strategy. I was hoping they would have been further ahead in terms of sources of revenues.

YouTube Mobile: June 2007

Katie Fehrenbacher from GigaOM reports that YouTube’s mobile website will be available in June 2007 for US users and in May for European ones. The site will have 800 “editorial picks” video at the beginning in order to trial the service and gets some feedback. Their end goal is to launch a site with all the YouTube content.

She adds: “In response to my question if YouTube is developing a mobile client, the spokesperson said that the company had been talking about it, but had no information to share at this time. Check out a preview of the blocked mobile site or this demo site: http://m.youtube.com/?client=ytdemo which you can see from some mobile phones.”

What it means: in this new social media world, we often forget that a great way to consume media is through a mobile device. Knowing that many local search players are thinking of launching video ad products (or have done so recently), I think it would be interesting to think about a mobile interface when building the product.