Oh, Pinterest. What a bummer.

Update: four months later, content marketing is on its way to take off
As marketers fight to engage with users [and] readers in a noisy, competitive world, marketers have all become publishers,” — Jed Hartman, group publisher of Time Inc. news and business, with oversight for Fortune via “Fortune will sell original editorial content to advertisers for up to $1 million”, AdAge

Day two after reading this and I am still confused. With the brand equity Pinterest has, they certainly could have been more creative at their first attempt to get closer to brands.

Pinterest is a goldmine for brands and advertisers.

  • 80% are women, 50% have kids and likely to live in a Midwestern state (read: Walmart demo = cha-ching)
  • Pinterest users who shop online follow 9.3 retailers while FB users follow 6.9% retailers and Twitter users follow 8.5%
  • CTA pin sees an 80% increase in engagement
  • Referrals spend 70% more money, also spend 10% more

The astounding stats go on and on…but they chose Business Pages and widgets?

I mean. Really?

From a brand perspective, what is the value proposition of having another business page to maintain? Business pages aren’t billboards on the Internet. Internet users expect more and paying Pinterest to add to workflows with sentiment, reputation and click-throughs as the ROI is backwards. And don’t get me started on widgets. What is this, 2001? Moving forward, major brands are becoming publishers, media companies, moving away from traditional ad models.

Pinterest is rich with content. If products like Pulse, the joke of the tech circle Mashable is experimenting and even brands like Coke and Nike can figure out content strategy to drive revenue, I’d assume the very smart people at Pinterest should be able to, too. Oh, well.

What a huge bummer.
(Top image screen shot of AdAge article found here)

I Told You So: Groupon Edition #dailydeals

When I first Tweeted this in January, I received a lot of backlash as Groupon -along with the other daily deal sites- are tech’s darlings. Or shall I say were, as today Groupon announced their IPO filing. When the public read Groupon’s S-1 the Silicon Valley tech crowd seemed the most astonished by -GASP- Groupon actually losing money despite their profits.

At first glance, the YOY numbers are pretty impressive:

  • 1Q 2011 Revenue: $644.7 million
  • 2010 revenue: $713.4 million
  • 2009 revenue: $30.47 million

And I’m not going to pretend a net loss of $146.5M wasn’t a tad surprising. And even more shocking is how Groupon hasn’t turned a net profit in any of its first three years of operations, including a net loss of $389.6 million in 2010.

But still. One doesn’t have to be an economist to see right through their faulty model. If you know how the Internet works, a scientific calculator is far from necessary to know: their customer acquisition budget is sky freakin’ high. How else did Groupon gain so much traction in such a short time? Google fairies?

What’s more baffling, is, even with these near comedic metrics, Groupon is still valuated at an astronomical figure. The founders and investors are walking away super wealthy. And I still stand by what I Tweeted back in January: Groupon’s legacy will be an economic dissertation or a B-school case study.

Though the real winner? Google.
For 1. not spending $6B because Groupon turned down the acquisition offer and 2. all the $ Groupon will continue spending on AdWords.

Either which way, I’m just glad the daily deal craze will finally slow down. I’m so sick of hearing how amazing Groupon et al. are, because frankly? They are not. Daily deals are (were?) a hot trend.  I’m ready for some innovation.  A product with such mind-blowing technology it will stun me stupid.

It’s days like these, I wish I was an engineer.

P.S. If anyone has any inkling on how much Groupon spends a month on Adwords, do share. I tried Googling with no luck. Even Quora didn’t have an answer.

Step Aside, Flickr. Instagram is Replacing You.

Poor Flickr.

For years, photographers and amateur photographers had only one hub: Flickr. I also used to be addicted to Flickr and made many great friends on there. It’s a huge bummer they became stagnant and really hard to use. I don’t even remember the last time I logged in…  And I noticed more and more of my friends using Facebook as their main outlet for photographs.

Enter Instagram.

Now I didn’t understand Instagram either, until I actually created an account and started using it. And the more I use it, the more it’s clear, Instagram is the next social platform for photographers. There are already ridiculous amounts of insanely talented photographers on there. I can’t wait to see the community keep growing.

So what makes Instagram so great? Well:

  • discoverability with solid filtering. The noise to signal ratio is on. point.  From the popular page to following your immediate friend’s photos, to even seeing activities from your friends (what they liked, what they commented on, etc.) Reminds me of the FriendFeed friend of friend feature, but it’s filtered, so you can choose to look any time you want to and doesn’t clog your feed. (News -> Following)
  • community: interaction is pretty much like Flickr, where people can talk to each other without reservations. Plus, you can use handles, which is rare for newer sites these days. Part of the reason so many Asians are on there, to protect their identities.
  • shareability is seamless — such a smart implementation, perhaps the best out there.
  • MOBILE — it’s in all CAPs because that’s how important mobility will become. I’m excited to see how Instragram will keep iterating its product. And when the Android app comes out? I think the adoption will snowball, trickling down to the mass.

Hopefully, the Instagram team is working on an archiving system with option to store photos at higher resolutions. But I still stand by my statement from a few weeks back: “Finally get Instagram. It’s like Flickr (community and discovery), Myspace-Livejournal (hot girls posting self portraits) but way better.”

If you’d like to connect on Instagram, my user ID is ‘monagram’

Bonus: Check out these two photos from me and Christine. We were at the same place, sitting next to the other, drinking the same thing but the photo, well, take a look.  It was so neat when it popped up in our feeds — we both said WOW at the same time.

Oh. Now I Get It. #netneutrality

I kinda got I should care about net neutrality because I love -well live- on the Internet. So I should be ashamed to admit I had no idea what net neutrality was and why I should care.

But I’m not.

I mean look. It’s not my fault most net neutrality articles read like research papers. The worst pieces are the ones that sound like LSAT sample questions. FCC this. Regulations that. Proposals. Rules. House. Senate. Law. Hmmm what?

In one ear, out the other.

Well.Thanks to Fred Wilson’s post here and USV’s post here, I finally comprehend what net neutrality is, why I should care and why you, fellow Internet user, should care too. So click on those links. Stat.

Still here?

Ok fine. How about this. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have Google (Gmail included), Facebook and/or Twitter always open in your browser?
  • Do you go on YouTube, Vimeo or any other video site?
  • Do you stream video on Netflix, Hulu or any other site?
  • Do you download music or movies? (it’s ok to say yes btw, I won’t tell.)
  • Are you an entrepreneur?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, net neutrality applies to you too.

Pretty serious, right?

No?

Ok then how about this: picture the Internet ending up like cable TV or worse, the radio, where the things we (the public) see or hear is controlled by $$$.

Do I have your attention now? Read this

Ugh. The notion of money hungry a-holes trying to destroy the Internet makes me ill. I mean it’s one of the last places where everyone has a voice, no matter who you know, where you come from or what you look like.

So gross.

ps: don’t forget to read this

Proof Number of Followers Don’t Matter on Twitter

It’s frustrating to see so much weight placed on follower count, but articles like these give me a glimmer of hope. From AdAge:

“[…]But his first round of magazine-cover appearances suggest that the conversion rate between dollars and tweets is still pretty unclear. And not everyone, it seems, can cash in yet.

[…]
The issue sold just more than 1 million copies at newsstand, about 20% below the newsstand average for early issues this year and 20% below its newsstand average in April 2009.

People’s later cover with Sandra Bullock, who doesn’t appear to have a Twitter account but does have an Oscar, sold more than twice as many newsstand copies.”


Separately, there was an article in HBR today dissecting Twitter followers and how it correlates to influence.

Totally gonna toot my own horn, but I’ve been saying since lord knows when: Grow out of the Tila Tequila mentality. Follower count does not equate to influence. If 3 million people are following, but no one is listening, are you popular and not an influencer? Why didn’t Beiber’s People issue sell more than Sandra Bullock’s issue? Does popularity equate to conversion? Or even reach?

Only time will tell, but me? I’d rather have a fraction of followers who actually engage. I think it’s time we re-think the terms: influencer and popular. #fridayfoodforthought

What is this OpenID Everyone Speaks Of?

Lately, there seems to be a lot of talks about OpenID / OAuth, privacy, owning information, decentralizing, centralizing, user-centric, SSL, profiling, identity, and other stuff ? (for a lack of a better term.)

I know it is some way relevant to me, since I see the logo everywhere I go. And I have an inkling OpenID is somehow important, since I am hearing about it a lot. And uhhh there was even a summit for OpenID and OAuth.

Well. I don’t know about you, but to me? OpenID is nothing but a bunch of gibberish.

  1. Too much effort.
    I am so used to logging in with a username and or handle, the concept of using a URL is ludicrous. A six letter username is already too much effort, to add mywebsite dot domain dot com each and every single time I need to log-in is blasphemy. Oh, nevermind password managing programs I use, ok? Thanks.
  2. Too confusing.
    Flickr, WordPress, Technorati, Yahoo, Blogger, LiveDoor, LiveJournal, blah blah blah – the OpenID provider list goes on and on. I am signed up for and use almost all OpenID service providers. Meaning, I already own an OpenID. Several, even, but how do I claim them? And what is this claim they speak of? Why can’t I just log into a site that supports OpenID with my respective URLs? Where and how do I start? WHY can’t this be more simple? See? The questions start and maybe I am an idiot, but for the life of me, I can not figure out how to get started.
  3. Why is this relevant to me?
    I am not going to lie. I log into almost all my accounts on unsecure Internet connections. Identity theft is irrelevant to me, since my identity has never been stolen. I am the last person to be anal about privacy. Call me naive, but in my sheltered world, confidential information is viewed via proprietary services (corporate server, apps, etc.) anyway, and I trust my system administrators. In my 10 years of working in corporations large and small, my sys admins have protected any security leaks. All I know (choose to know?) is when making, receiving, or transferring any financial transactions, I check the URL to make sure it reads: “https”. WHY should I care?

I know in theory, OpenID is a good idea. But really, why does owning my information pertain to me? How is this relevant to my daily usage? After all, it’s not like merchants (Ebay, Paypal, financial institutions, etc.) are partnered with OpenID. So unless OpenID becomes more intuitive, or there’s a reallllly good motivating factor for me to actually figure that crap out? I am sticking with dedicated usernames and passwords.

Do you know something I don’t know? If so, do please enlighten me.

Awesome discussion as well here. :)

Websites are the New Scrunchies

172
Just like how the 80s birthed many crime worthy fashion trends – I mean seriously, look at that picture. Just Say NO! to Scrunchies – one of the biggest modern day faux pas is appalling. People, I am talking about virtual prettifying trends that need to be stopped.

My Facebook and Gmail and a lot of my favorite sites take a bajillion katrillion years to open. Is it like that for you, too?  When uploading pictures with a fancy image uploader that’s floating mid-screen, my browser sometimes freaks out. Like this.

Is it just me?

Or does it piss you off, like it pisses me the EF off, when there’s major freezeage while playing music on one of those dope ass players? You know, the ones that take a trillion years to show up on the page and when everything finally loads, it takes another ten EFin hours for the music to play?

Well, you guys, when that happens? It is NOT your faults. Nor is it your computers’ faults. It is really not you, but the websites’ and the companies’ faults, for dressing up the interfaces with useless code. (Technically, it’s script overload. Too much Ajax and or JS = No Thank You. If you’re tech savvy, install Chrome or Webkit’s nightly build, since they have rendering engines built specifically for the purpose of handling script. Add-ons not an option. If what you read is gibberish, no worries. Just don’t contact me with questions and go here: http://letmegooglethatforyou.com)

Fine, I deal with all that crap. I don’t like it, but I deal. I choose to use the unfancified versions (plain HTML or simple uploaders) since I have NO patience for things to load and crashing browsers, but the most horrible thing is this.

2623031518_e1e7df3580_o

Do you see that?
There is a missing pixel. UNACCEPTABLE.

And now this.

facebook-mona-nomura

Misaligned text. Super duper unacceptable.
I know these sites are free. I know I shouldn’t be complaining. But we’re already tortured by browser crashage, why can’t interfaces be easier on our eyes? Instead of fancyfying shit, fix the rudimentary aspects of your motherEFin sites, please.

Thank you. And have a great day.
/rant

Thanks to Strands for the iPhone, I’m Famous!!

WordPress isn’t letting me embed videos, so please click on image that will: 1) Give you a review and description of Strands for the iPhone via the inquisitr (Duncan and his blog RULE btw) and 2) Let you see the video where I have my .928374938792374 nano seconds of fame.

strands-offers-an-iphone-interface

WOO-HOO! I’m famous!!

Oh ya, congratulations Drew and Strands! –clicking on Strands will take you directly to my profile since I feel like being vein like that. :) Oh and for LG (Louis Gray)’s take – with screen caps, visit his site here.

notifu.com: Send, Track, and Gather Messages to an Individual or Group to Make Instant Decisions

Launched October 29th, notifu.com lets you “Send a message to an individual or group, know if the message was received, and gather responses to make quick decisions.” …um wow. This is useful for personal and business use.

Messages can be sent via:

  • Email
  • SMS
  • Phone
  • IM services (AIM, Gtalk, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo)

They’re already working on the next release (11/20/08) that’ll allow adding notifu to Social Sites such as:

  • hi5
  • Friendster
  • iGoogle
  • MySpace
  • Ning
  • Orkut
  • Plaxo

AND this service:

  1. Works outside of the US and Canada
  2. Has an iPhone interface (web app)

Nice. Why didn’t I come up with this? Anyway, check it out: notifu.com

Ajax Wiki Search: So. Much. Awesome.

OMG why didn’t I find this sooner? It’s a Wiki search site in Ajax that uses Google’s API. The search results are displayed column style on the left hand side of the page. The site is self explanatory, so I’ll let the screen grabs do all the talking. Click the thumbnail on the left to see bigger image. Below is a screen grab of an actual search result.

It’s so much easier and simpler to navigate than just WIKIing. Btw, latter is not an actual word, but if Googling is a verb, WIKIing should be, too. And I know “WIKI” shouldn’t be in CAPS but it’s MY blog and I can acronym however I want to, thank you very much! ;)

Anyway, bookmark it. STAT! http://chir.ag/wiki/

Tip’d + Chris Pearson + Economy + Web = LEGIT

It’s Monday morning –again. If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t want to read any serious stuff to start your week, but this is too good not to share. Backstory: I stumbled across pearsonified.com and the very first article I read was so legit, I decided to re-blog and quote the author / owner Chris Pearson’s words.

“To be sure, the root cause of a majority of the US’s economic problems is a general lack of understanding of fundamental economic principles, both in Washington and in the average American household. Obviously, this is a huge problem, and the only real long-term solution requires an increase in the baseline level of economic understanding.

Educating the masses is no small task, but as the Internet continues to grow, so too does the efficiency of information exchange. The main benefit of this increased efficiency is that people have more collective knowledge at their fingertips, and therefore, they also have the ability to learn more things faster than ever before.

No matter what political party you choose to endorse, know this—the real hope for our future lies in education, not in tax breaks, health care reform, or any other “policy” you care to name.”

via Pearsonified

This man speaks the truth.
Plus, Tip’d is neat. It’s a new Social Network site specifically for financial / economic news. Users can submit and vote on stories like digg or Reddit. So if you’re looking for a financial hub, this is the place for you. It’s still brand new but I’ve been poking around for the past 15 minutes and already bookmarked a few informative articles. Go check it out. :)
/end of food for thought

Top 5 Resources to Stay Informed – the Lazy Way

I completely suck at numbers. I could give a crap about the stock market. I tune out politics since I’m sick and tired of the same ‘ole rhetoric. And if you’re like me, you most likely skip over all the panicked headlines about how the $700 billion bail out got kicked from Congress.

I mean really – why would all this junk be relevant to regular people like us? The headlines are too damn depressing and most importantly – we don’t have power, money or stature for any of this to really matter ANYway – right? Wrong.

Listen to me, you guys:
Now is not the time to tune things out.

Continue reading

HOLY CRAP My “Back to the Old Facebook” Posts are Featured, WTF?

HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS!
My EFin blog is featured on WordPress.com. WTF?! And how in the HECK did that happen?! Wow. Thanks, everyone for visiting…? I don’t know what to say except I am glad I’m not the only one who can’t stand the new Facebook.

Anyway, to get the Old Facebook back, click this:
http://www.new.facebook.com/FacebookPreviews? fbnew_opt_out=1 (Thanks Honor)

Btw, my other Facebook posts:

Hope that helps!

Mini-fig Mona Frying Bacon

OMG!! This was saved as a draft, wtf!

Moving on… A week ago, Chris Pirillo launched his community: http://geeks.pirillo.com/. Since I’m a huge Geek, I HAD to join… and his site is quite the community. In less than a week, more than 2,000 users signed up, but what surprised me the most is the range of interests and how it’s not tech / IT exclusive. The community is extremely active with tons of pictures, videos, forum topics, the groups OMG! They range from: Hardware, Software, Google, Food (sushi, cheese, Gummi Bears (!), to ramen), sports, music, funny pictures, toys, and even an 80’s Cartoon TV show group.

Since the list goes on and on, I’m going to stop here, but I find myself on geeks.pirillo.com quite often. :) The YouTube video of me frying bacon, was made by one of the members of the site who makes LEGO Brick Films, Spudster45. See his videos here. Anyway, it’s a pretty cool site. Check it out. :)

Social Media Sudoku

The past few days, I’ve attempted life as a ‘normal person‘. Going out with friends, dates, bars, and today, I even had an ‘average Sunday’ — Sunday brunch, Sunday errands, lazy Sunday in a park, then Sunday coffee with my friends, complete with the Sunday paper.

As I was playing Sudoku, my mind started wandering, and the numbers morphed into icons of various Social Media networking sites I participate in. Then I realized, I may have a problem. I am addicted to the Internet, especially Social Networking Sites. (image via: troller.com, a site randomly found Googling for a visual to add to this post.)

I am signed up for over 20 different services, and the list of new accounts keep growing. Since I’m signed up for an abundance of services, it may seem as though ‘clone’ sites are spawning, but I disagree. It’s quite exciting to see how these ‘clone’ sites integrates and appropriates various features and functions of their predecessors to fit their own formulas. Just like how cars, gadgets, and electronics keep getting ‘better’, I firmly believe Social Networking sites do, as well.

To omit redundancy, I separate everything via purpose of the respective services so I’m not overloaded, overwhelmed, or bored by all these sites. I’ve learned to quickly distinguish which sites I will participate in, or not. Continue reading

I’m Already on FriendFeed, What’s the Point of SweetCron?

Last night, SweetCron was released and my friend Sean was one of the first who had it up and running. Go Sean! :)

In a nutshell, SweetCron is free Open Source lifestreaming software. It automatically imports images, videos, and texts, from various websites you’re signed up for, and consolidates them in one place.

So why would you even bother with another one of those sites?
Especially, if you’re on FriendFeed.

Well, I spend 95% of my days at FriendFeed –seriously. I reaaaally don’t need another aggregator. But I do. I’m planning to run SweetCron for a personal website. It would make it easy for my non FriendFeeder friends to keep up with my life, since (as much as I am a devotee), FriendFeed can be overwhelming. There’s tons of conversational threads, random dumpage of information, everything I love about it, my non-internet savvy friends don’t. (I tried getting a few to sign up)

I’m extremely excited about SweetCron since:

  1. SweetCron is very visual. The RSS feeds pull in media (images, video, etc). To see a live demo, visit the creator Yongfook’s site. His website is powered by SweetCron :)
  2. It’s for self-hosted sites, meaning I have control of a lot of things. (read: I can choose my own domain name +1!)
  3. And it’s easy on the eyes. Very simple and self explanatory — both front / back ends, and most importantly, for the users. People can jump on the site and start clicking around :)

Take a look at some of his screen shot videos:

Pretty neat, huh? Just like Dave, I think it’s going to be “pretty Fooking Huge“, too LOL.

Um, now all I need is a domain name. Does anyone have ideas / suggestions?