Monday, April 02, 2007

Peddling Influence - Ads vs. Reviews

There's a new trend that's emerging in Web 2.0 - the mashup of content and advertising - or more properly "Content Driven Marketing".

Disclaimer: The author is currently consulting for a Web 2.0 VC backed start up who will soon be entering the "Content Driven Marketing" arena by going one step further and offering "Content Driven Commerce" that will include content driven marketing as well!

As Google AdWords began to blur the lines between site content and advertising, there are a few upstart start ups that are blurring the line between content and marketing messaging. This new trend is being led by a short list of Web 2.0 start ups each with their own special twist.

Pay Per Post ( is targeting advertisers who want to turn on the power of the Bloggosphere by asking bloggers to write about their products within their blogs. It's an interesting model and pays between $5 and $500 per blog post. How much is paid and who can blog it is driven by the advertiser based upon your blogs ranking by the algorithm. The site is well organized and quite functional but a little overwhelming at times. ( is an interesting twist since it is specifically focused on the concept of the 'Review' of a product or service. It's a great concept and should prove quite successful if the community buys into the qualifications of the reviewers to review the products and services they are posting about. So far the jury is out on this one and the feedback on the reviews are mixed, some comments include thank you's for good information but many are decrying the reviews as just ads in disguise. ( (the company I'm consulting with) is about to launch a much more vertically targeted system for the online commerce and distribution of software. This new system will match qualified "Expert Reviewers" with Software Publishers and Marketing Affiliates in a 'Virtuous Cycle" that aims to improve the shopping experience for buyers by giving them independent objective reviews on software titles, improve software by putting it in the hands of industry experts that will provide the objective feedback to the Software Publisher, and to drive higher marketing to sales returns for Marketing Affiliates by providing expert reviews of software that they normally would not have access to.

It certainly does look like the Web just keeps getting better and these three concepts prove out that given a little time and a lot of brainpower new monetization models will just keep coming.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Passive Social Networking vs. Active Social Networking

Social Networking Has Even Scratched the Surface Yet!

MySpace, FaceBook, LinkedIn and others seem to have the whole market locked up but they haven't even begun to scratch the surface of connected us all together in the ways in which we want to be connected...

These are all Active networks requiring minutes or hours each day managing the relationship - pumping in content and driving value back to the network... the number one blocker is that people generally either lose interest in maintaining the content (as I have done countless times) or they are zealots that skew the profile of participants...

What these social networks are trying to do is help you expose who you are to the world... but if they are driving your behavior and sucking minutes our hours out of your days for content input then aren’t they fundamentally changing your behavior?

I think of my daughter and how addicted she can get to MySpace and that from time to time I have to clamp down on the MySpace time she spends and although the withdrawal symptoms are unbearable (the lamenting, the crying the gnashing of teeth) within a day or so she is a much happier girl for it! The happier one is the real girl, the one that MySpace is supposed to reflect, but unfortunately due to its active participation requirements it corrupts…

Now, on to the title of this entry… the next generation of social networking will go beyond active to passive, it will connect you with others who truly have similar interests because it will be built from what you do rather than what you say you do…

Let me explain… today, we tell social networks who we want others to think we are… we write profiles, we enter datapoints, we post pictures, etc… in essence we craft an image on the system of what we want others in the network to think of us… this is fun but it’s not really useful – every time we interact with someone we have to filter what we know since we’re not sure of the truth.

The next generation of social networking will gather what we do and paint a picture of who we are, connect us with those who do similar things and behave in similar (or polar opposite) ways. is a distributed recommendation engine that helps users to find out what others are happy with because of their actions and not just what they say. They also have a little widget you can drop on your Blog that aggregates all of the linkbacks to your Blog and creates a mind-map list of other Bogs that those the like yours also like – it is driven by behavior!

The future of social networking will go from Active to Passive where we can get a true picture of who we are and who others are indeed rather than the facade that is now created, crafted if you will for better or for worse. We shall see! More to come...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why Web 2.0 is the Perfect Term for It!

I was on O'Reilly's Radar Blog tonight when I saw his post "Words as Pointers, and the Meaning of Web 2.0" when it struck me that the techies can's see the forest for the trees!

Have you ever been late for an appointment, running around the house, trying to get out the door frantically declaring "I've lost my keys! I've lost my keys" only to have a friend or loved one walk directly to a dresser that you've looked at a gadzillion times and pick up your set of keys and say "Here you go!"?

You know you looked there, you are certain they were not on that dresser, or desk, or counter or wherever else your loved one found them, yet sure enough when they looked they found them even though you could not. Why? Because your reticular activating system (RAS) in your brain wants to keep you sane.

Since you told yourself “I’ve lost my keys!” and have (even in an instant) created a belief that you lost your keys, then your RAS will do whatever it takes to ensure that your sanity stays intact and that you don’t find your keys; even to the point of creating what psychoanalysts call a Skatoma – a mental blind spot.

Now, being a former marketer and now a Biz Dev guy the last ten years in the technology/dotcom space, I am definitely highly susceptible to Buzzwords and the first time I had heard “Web 2.0” was in late 2005 on an interview where the interviewer wanted to find out how ‘hip’ I was on hype. I immediately gravitated toward the term and voraciously ate up everything I could find on the concept. The one funny thing to me was all this debate (primarily among technologists) on 1. What the term really meant and B) whether or not it really was the 2dot0 of the Web or not!

Now back to my first point… I think we are witnessing a collective Skatoma on the part of the technical community here. A blind spot to the real issue we’re faced with. One thing I have noticed about the debaters is that they are for the most part NOT marketing or biz dev people but rather technologists debating the meaning or/appropriateness of the term Web 2.0. We marketers have, for the most part bought in to the Web 2.0 paradigm/naming… why?

I’ll tell you why. Just like Tim’s example earlier of “condescension” having shifted its pointer to a 180 degree meaning, I think all of you pure tech guys are missing the whole point

I had thought myself pretty savvy and could spiel a good wrap among CEOs about the origins of the Internet/Web (hint: most people think it’s the same thing!) and discuss the US military following WWII and blah, blah, blah… but until I dug deeper into the Web 2.0 thing I really didn’t parse out the Burners-Lee origins and the direct reliance on http as specific to this thing you call the WEB!

So far the basis of the debate has been misplaced – you all seem to be debating about the wrong part of the term, you’ve all been arguing about the 2 point 0 part when that is not really the part that matters.

Your blind spot, your Skatoma is about getting hung up in the meaning of the word “Web”.

What I am trying to say is that the meaning of the word “Web” itself has changed… for the vast majority of the peoples out there the Web has nothing to do with the technologies upon which it rides or is stuck with, it has everything to do with how they get information!

I’ve tried, over the last year to package Web 2.0 for discussions with clients and partners, and last September, at the Modular Software Conference 2006 in Las Vegas I packaged it in a simple phrase that hit home across the board, whether it was with a ‘web developer’ or a CEO or a marketing person… and it goes like this…

“Web 2.0 is the evolution of a Web of presentation to a Web of participation.”

It works because for the most part people have, until the Tsunami of 2004, thought of the Web as a place to only go find information. When the Tsunami hit, the media began talking about Web logs, now called Blogs, where victims were using the internet to communicate – I believe that’s where the massive paradigm shift occurred. Of course there were all of the pre-cursors to Web 2.0, Napster, eBay Ratings/Reviews, and others… but the collective conscience of what you could do with the Web changed after Blogs became known by the peoples… for most people “Web 2.0 is the evolution of Web of presentation to Web of participation.” And that works only because Web is a concept, not a technology stack.

The concept is evolving and there is technology evolution happening too.

Now sure, if you use the strict technical sense of the word Web, then the concept of Web 2.0 breaks down with the first three letters of its moniker. Yet if you allow the concept to EXPAND the definition of Web to include all that Tim and Dion and the rest of the thought leaders have been saying… to include getting, interacting, using, transforming, creating, modifying, displaying, filtering, searching, sorting, and transmitting information then that’s really what Web 2.0 is…

I’m sorry Tim Berners-Lee – I know, as the father of the Web it’s hard to see the word with any other meaning, but surly the Web has outgrown our original concept of what it meant to connect with hyperlnks and hypertext….

Try this… stop ten random people, any age, any occupation… ask them if they use the Web, they’ll tell you ‘Sure I have the Internet’ and then ask them what that little http:// means in the addresses they use on the Internet and they’ll look at you with the “who cares” look in their eyes… it doesn’t really matter what transport or protocol or technology we use to create Web 2.0 only that it’s NOT the same web, it’s evolved.

Web 2.0 works because people think of Web (1.0) as more than a technology, a collection of technologies or a specific way to compute… they think of it as a place to get information and if the new Web, Web 2.0 is better then hey! Why not…

I suppose the real question is, what’s driving the evolution, are we calling it Web 2.0 because new technologies are changing the way we interact with information or is technology changing because we now have a new concept of what the “Web” is in Web 2.0?

Stick with Web 2.0 – people get it, even if the technologists don’t want to!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Very Funny Top 10 List

In light of the Web 2.0 Conference going on in San Francisco this week, the published this very funny "Top 10 Lies of Web 2.0"

I especially like # 10. We look forward to working with our new partners at Google. Take the money, hand over the keys and step aside. Larry and Sergey are driving your bus now.

It is indeed a lie, and Google will not be buying EVERY start up in the Web 2.0 paradigm so those not counting on Larry and Sergey better figure out how to monetize their own creations... that ties in to my last post about that little Web 2.0 startup, FlatBurger... the guys and gals who have figured out how to help you Web 2.0 developers to make sure you get paid...

Here's the rest of the list...

Modular Software IS Web 2.0

At the end of September I was asked to participate in a first of its kind event at the Excalibur Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV, USA.

Hosted by FlatBurger, a Web 2.0 Startup with a great idea (for whom I now consult full time), the Modular Software Conference 2006 was an invite only event that brought together a group that had, until that moment, worked closly together in the virtual world but had never been in the same room with each other.

These Modular Software developers all had at least two things in common. 1. They all develop software 'plug-ins' or "Modular Software" for the DotNetNuke(tm) platform (I'll get into what DotNetNuke is in a little bit) and 2. Unlike many DNN developers out there they do it for a living. (

DotNetNuke ( is a open source hosted application infrastructure that runs on the Windows ASP.NET platform. Primarily in use today as a content management, knowledge management or collaboration platform, the DNN community is growing by leaps an bounds each day. As I write this Blog at 2pm on Wednesday the 8th of November the DNN community was at 357,759 and growing by about 500 per day!).

DotNetNuke describes itself as “…an Open Source Framework ideal for creating Enterprise Web Applications”. The DotNetNuke developers I spoke with seem to agree and they are cranking out modules to help webmasters and corp developers alike to create compelling, rapidly changing, extremely flexible web based applications that help users participate as much as possible in the decision making of their companies. True Web 2.0 stuff.

Even Microsoft is taking notice and has been focusing some good resources not only on their own collaborative suit, the Microsoft SharePoint Portal solution but also on the DotNetNuke community since it rides on top of Windows and ASP.NET in a hosted environment.

FlatBurger is an interesting third party in the mix that provides services and technology to this ecosystem of modular software developers to help them protect their IP (open source or not), manage their licensing scheme and providing these developers with the tracking billing system that gives them to power to present end users with a Software as a Services (SaaS) model only paying as you go. (I’ll cover more about FlatBurger is subsequent posts).

For now, check out the videos up on and let me know what you think, that voice of the interviewer is me!


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Web 2.0 Defined

Last January I posted some thoughts on how to sum up the definition of Web 2.0 in a neat package and came up with:

Definition of Web 2.0
Web 1.0 = "Presentation Exchange"
Web 2.0 = "Information Interchange"

Recently i was asked to help prepare some presentations for a Web 2.0 Modular Software Conference in Las Vegas and I needed to sum up where we are with Web 2.0, what's next and to put it all in context for this crowd. Here's the new definition in a much more digestible form...

“Web 2.0 is the evolution from the Web of presentation to the Web of participation.”

This resonated well with the audience and I'd like to know what you think.

Friday, January 06, 2006

New Web 2.0 Resources Sub Blog

Check out this subBlog for some good Web 2.0 resources. They will build with time. I'll add an RSS feed shortly...

Ken Cavallon's Web 2.0 Resources



Tuesday, January 03, 2006

There goes the Bloggerhood!

It looks like the great equalizer of the blogosphere has been stratified and there are now those who track who's worth listening to for us...

I can see a time in the not so distant future when a major media corp (or could that be just plain "NewsCorp") puts its massive resources behind an effort to "edit" the Blogosphere... aggregating all that 'they' think is best on the web and presenting it in nice tidy packages (they used to call them 'columns') and sorting it all for the great unwashed... surrounding the data with cute little ads and dumbing it down so much that it's not worth the paper (errr packets...) it's printed on... hmmmm... sounds familiar, I hope they get it right this time! (And I hope I eat my words!)

If you are interested in seeing "Who's speaking and who's listening in the International Blogosphere" then "Meet the Bridgebloggers"