About Productivity, Social Networks and everything else I'm interested in

The Science of Sharing

The Science of Sharing: “IMG_3091 - Edited

T. and F. They don’t stand for ‘true’ or ‘false’ anymore. They stand for Twitter and Facebook. They’re in the corner of every webpage we visit, alongside ‘in’ for LinkedIn, ‘su’ for StumbleUpon, and the universally recognized envelope, which represents the archaic sharing system we call ‘email’ – which still accounts for 17% of all Internet sharing.

When we’re surfing the web, we see something we like and click one or all of these sharing buttons without thinking twice. But if you’re a marketer, or a webmaster, or a blogger – anyone that has a vested interest in how many hits are coming in; sharing isn’t just the new American pastime – there are dollars at stake. And one company is attempting to help publishers better understand how encouraging sharing can increase profits.

This is the goal of ShareThis, the largest platform for sharing and influence across the web, which aims to help publishers strengthen their advertising by understanding the people who are receiving their content via shares. Sharing accounts for 31% of site referral traffic, nearly half of what search engines account for. Analyzing not who is sharing, but who they’re sharing it with gives publishers the ammo they need to secure advertisers that will profit from partnering with them.

ShareThis CEO Tim Schigel explains it as such: If I send a link about DIY furniture restoration to my cousin Susie, it says more about her than it does about me. As Susie’s cousin and ‘search agent’, I’m targeting her better than any advertiser could. If publishers understand the people who are receiving their links from sharing, they can secure more effective advertising. By tracking the path of clicks, ShareThis can aggregate pertinent information about the publisher’s audience, thus enabling them to broker more meaningful relationships between publishers and relevant advertisers. Eventually, ShareThis will be able to assign a dollar value to every share.

One website has already nailed down their share-to-dollar algorithm – Eventbrite. As Marketing Director Tamara Mendelsohn puts it, ecommerce isn’t something you’d inherently share with your network – you don’t post the $300 shoes you just purchased on your Facebook wall (or you do, if you’re gaudy). Enter social commerce. The nature of events is that they’re social – you want your friends to come along, you want to hear feedback from people who’ve attended a similar event, you want to know who’s already purchased tickets.

Add to that an interface that encourages both event organizers and ticket purchasers to post events to their social networks, and you have one of the most successful social commerce campaigns on the Internet. Facebook is now Eventbrite’s #1 referral site, surpassing Google and netting Eventbrite 11 clicks and $2.53 per share. How they got the number: “We track the total ticket volume that is driven by each sharing mechanism and divide by the total number of shares that are initiated through that mechanism on our platform. In reality the numbers are probably higher, as some people will just directly cut and paste links to share. We can’t track that, so we know our numbers are conservative.”

Of course, not every social site can be expected to provide a ROI like Facebook (an Eventbrite share on Twitter only nets 0.43). In the case of Eventbrite, this is because Facebook (and Facebook friends) are a lot more localized – your Twitter followers are likely to have a greater geographic spread than your Facebook friends. There’s also that whole “Facebook having 500 million users” part of the equation.

There’s been an undercurrent of dissent toward Facebook in the past few months; stemming from early adopters who claim it’s ‘jumped the shark’. The unfortunate truth is that it’s the most effective social network if you’re trying to garner clicks on your shares – whether you’re trying to share the cutest kitten video ever or an article you’ve mandated ‘required reading‘ for anyone who wants to associate with you.

Of 70 billion shares examined in the ShareThis study, 38% of clicks on shared content came from Facebook (Twitter was only responsible for 11%). If you don’t use social networks to promote your projects or your personal interests, feel free to deactivate that Facebook profile. But if you have even the tiniest incentive to reach an audience, it may be a while before Facebook becomes as irrelevant as some of us wish it were.

Where and how do you share content on the Internet?

(Via The Next Web.)

Meet TechStars’ Kinvey: Setting the pace for the future of mobile apps

Meet TechStars’ Kinvey: Setting the pace for the future of mobile apps: “wallpapers_space_stars_star-0005

While pursuing our passion for making things that bring value to millions of people, we built mobile apps to address the needs of non-profits, open government initiatives, etc. We realized that the apps we were thinking of creating, were in the same class as the millions of next-gen mobile apps. These apps are going to use backends because they will upload/download data, use location and social information, and buy and sell things. To do all this, the mobile app has to connect to a backend stack, but building a backend stack sucks. We decided that we were going to make it ridiculously easy for developers to set up, use and maintain backends for mobile and tablet apps. We call it Backend as a Service.

-Kinvey Founder and CEO Sravish Sridhar

Kinvey is one of the brand new companies about to launch out of TechStars, an incubator program in Boston (MA), Boulder (CO), New York City (NY) and Seattle (WA) that has helped numerous companies attract over $25 million in venture capital and angel investment. Kinvey, a company that has created a cloud backend service for mobile apps, will be graduating from this spring’s Boston class.

Kinvey pronounced like convey is a “Backend as a Service” that makes it incredibly easy for mobile app developers to focus on making beautiful, user-friendly apps. Kinvey is betting that the next generation of wireless devices and apps will empower billions of people across the world in ways that will change the face of learning, communication and commerce and that Kinvey will be the hub of that change.

Sridhar and his co-founders came up with the idea in September 2010 and started building the first version. They spoke to hundreds of mobile app developers for input and found that every mobile developer just wants an API. They don’t want to figure out platforms, stacks and tools and how to put those things together. They want to focus on the application and user interface.

Let’s say you’re a mobile app developer who wants to create a fictional app called Videogram. The developer would tell Kinvey, I want the app to take video, upload it, geotag it and then allow it to be pushed to social networks with commenting features. The developer has a a choice on whether he or she wants to store that video on Amazon, Rackspace, or any other cloud service or leave the decision up to Kinvey. In 10-15 minutes, Kinvey sets up a backend to Videogram. The ability to auto-generate those APIs from models is Kinvey’s secret sauce.

Imagine you want to paint your home. With Kinvey, you’d pick the colors, click on the walls and all of a sudden you’d see your house in various colors. Kinvey lets developers focus on writing beautiful client applications by providing a dynamic backend including data storing, location and social networking tools.

Watch Kinvey’s video for more:

“I completely bought into the fact that mobile applications are going to change the world that we live in and what mobile technology in general can do for the developing world,” says Sridhar. “Myself and my cofounders knew we wanted to take this company to the next level from day one so we decided that an accelerator program would be the best way. We got so excited when we found TechStars. The best thing about TechStars is [Director] Katie Rae. She is absolutely amazing. World-class entrepreneurs and investors in Boston spent a lot of time working with us to help accelerate our business, in large part, due to the respect they have for Katie and the reputation she has in the Boston startup community.”

The Kinvey team was new to the Boston area. In a period of just a few months, they built a network of a few hundred technical, marketing and startup gurus, who have all helped them personally and professionally. In the future, Kinvey wants to be the de facto data hub for all mobile data. Once they accomplish this, Sridhar says there will be plenty of monetization routes.

Previous to Kinvey, Founder and CEO Sravish Sridhar was a part of the founding team at United Devices and wrote software that harnessed computing power on over 3.5 million PCs to conduct cancer research. He is also the founder of We Flap, a non-profit that helps other India-based non-profits tap into the social graph. Sravish, who grew up in India, met his CTO Morgan Bickle and Creative and Marketing Director Ryan Light at the University of Texas.

So far, over 100 developers have signed-up for Kinvey’s private beta. For now, the service is free for private-beta users and they will announce pricing after going live in the fall, which could be anywhere from a few thousand dollars a month down to a dollar a day depending on the complexity of the app. Developers will only start paying when their application goes live. Not wanting developers to ever feel stuck, Kinvey will always have the option for a one click “export all data” in multiple formats, allowing the developer to delete their account (thus losing backend support) and walk away with their app, completely free of cost.

Interested in joining the closed beta? Sign up here.

TechStars’ Demo Day in Boston will take place on June 15th, 2011. As the guys have coined this term “backend as a service,” expect quite a bit of humor during their presentation. TNW’s Brad McCarty will be there to report.

Read more on TechStars, don’t miss:

An interview with: TechStars’ David Cohen on startup rockstars.

TechStars: The next great incubator unleashes 11 startups in NYC.

TechStars Boulder: Inside the magic and mentorship of the top startup accelerator.

(Via The Next Web.)

Rapportive just turned Gmail into a really useful Twitter client

Rapportive just turned Gmail into a really useful Twitter client: “birds

Gmail plugin Rapportive is already one of the most useful tools for anyone wanting to get more out of their email, showing you information from the social networking profiles of people who contact you in place of Gmail’s advertising column. However, today’s it’s added a feature that could make it essential for anyone who uses both Google’s email service and Twitter – it’s essentially turned Gmail into a Twitter client.

While Rapportive previously let you see the tweets of people who emailed you, it’s now a lot more useful. For a start, you can now reply to people via Twitter, and retweet them too, right from Gmail.

There’s even a button allowing you to follow people, whenever you receive an email from someone you aren’t already following. This is particularly useful with new follower notification emails. While Twitter sends you information from a user’s profile within the actual email, Rapportive will display their latest tweets and let you reply right away, saving you the effort of clicking away to a separate Twitter client to find out if it’s worth you following back.

As you can see in the screenshot below, new followers just got a lot easier to deal with – you can see their recent tweets and follow straight back, right from the notification email.

In short, this is a real timesaver for anyone who spends a lot of time in their Gmail and Twitter accounts. While it won’t replace your usual method of accessing Twitter, Rapportive has succeeded in bringing the most useful elements possible of the microblogging service right into your inbox.

If you’re already a Rapportive user, your account will be upgraded to include the new Twitter functionality soon, or you can force an upgrade simply by visiting this URL: http://rapportive.com/twitter. If you’re new to Rapportive, head over to that link too, to get set up with this excellent free service.

As we recently reported, Google has planted itself on Rapportive’s turf with the launch of its own Gmail People Widget. However, the small US-based startup has fought back by rapidly introducing new functionality. If you weren’t already a Rapportive user, today’s new Twitter features should give you even more of a reason to try it out.

Image source

(Via The Next Web.)