Lightweight models and cost-effective scalability

In this week, the post still focuses on one of the eight Web 2.0 Design Patterns and Business Models by O’Reilly. However, it is more about a portfolio of business strategies rather than talk about the technologies regarding the platform. As usual, a platform for today will be picked and discussed. And that comes to Dimmi – an online restaurant reservation platform.

Dimmi Website

Dimmi Website

 

Dimmi was founded around four years ago, aiming to fulfil the gap of Australian restaurants online booking. But, it is not just an online booking system as it provides real customer reviews; offers high tech (iView) in the iOS app to boost user experience; and claims a reward system (normally $50 per 8,000 points) for the customers based on the booing and reviewing. Up until now, it is quite success with 200,000 diner reviews and over 2,500 best restaurants in the country. So, what are the good strategies could we take example by?

iPhone app & iView

 

I think the most intelligent part is they outsourcing. They have the partnership with online booking platforms such as Urbanspoon and Good Food Guide, and with PoS providers like IMpos, Oder Mate and Maltre’D. The technology support, in particular, could make restaurants more possible to corporate with Dimmi. Meanwhile, they still provide Restaurantdiary support for clients to manage and control their service capacity.

On the other hand, Dimmi also maximises their marketing impact through different competitors and social media channels. For example, they have the contract with Australian Masterchef to integrate the heat of the show effect and let consumers to find and book restaurants through Masterchef website. They also have backed by Telstra and Village Roadshow to expand their network. All these could help the platform to increase their market share dramatically and help the restaurant to gain their table booking and make it possible to earn the profit from that (Dimmi collects $1-$3 per customer from the restaurant for revenue).

 

Another interesting point is that, Dimmi starts early than other two competitors (Book A Restaurant & Restalo) in the Australian restaurant online booking field, which provides them the opportunities to develop and grow fast.

 

 

Thanks for reading today 🙂

Chuan

 

Other resources for guide reading:

http://www.dimmi.com.au/

http://www.startupsmart.com.au/growth/growth-strategy/dimmi-cooks-up-a-storm-with-masterchef-partnership/201305179759.html

http://i0.dacdn.net/Online_booking_site_hungers_to_expand_TheAustralian2014-04-28.pdf

http://blogs.wsj.com/dealjournalaustralia/2012/06/29/meet-australias-answer-to-opentable/

http://www.wiliam.com.au/wiliam-blog/sydney-web-design-dimmi-launches

http://blog.marketing4restaurants.com/the-future-of-online-bookings-in-australia/

Leverage the Long Tail

LongTail: Chris Anderson

LongTail: Chris Anderson

As one of the eight core patterns mentioned by O’Reilly, leverage the long tail has been best described by Chris Anderson’s economic long tail model. In general, it describes that, compared to those most hit marketing focus, the market demand increasely shifts to those long tail niches, which generates the business in success.

 

Scoopon, is the Australian’s largest daily deals company and an integral part of Australia’s number one online shopping group. Starting similar with Groupon in America, Scoopon integrates small businesses and offer discounted deals to local people.

 

Scoopon

Scoopon

Scoopon was built on the driving forces of the Long Tail. Back to 3 years ago, there is no “group deals” offered from any website in Australian. Group deals, refers to some people online purchasing a local business’ services or products as a group for discount, and such minimum amount of purchase are often decided by the business. However, Scoopon explores the new market successfully, and even add additional function (i.e., travelling and shopping) to the website. Comparing to this, Groupon slowed down in entering new market. They also contract with more businesses to corporate and attract new customers in different ways (e.g., joint into online shopping group with Grocery Run, Catch of the Day and etc and let customers to share the deals through other social platforms).

 

They use algorithmic data management to match supply and demand. There are some statistic offering beside each deal showing the time left, how much the deal could save and how many scoopons (vouchers) are sold. In most cases, these statistics offers reliability and sometimes stimulations to the customers to purchase the deal as well.

 

Leverage customer self-service to cost effectively reach the entire web. Each customers of Scoopon could manage and control their own accounts with their personal delivery address, bank details and purchased deals. Also, Scoopon leverages the low-cost advantages of being online.

 

My Scoopon

My Scoopon

To sum up, Scoopon leverage the long tail in a quite noticeable and successful way.

 

 

Google Plus and Their Newcomers

High qualified newcomers can bring vitality to the platform and enhance the publicity of the website and services. In nowadays, there are plenty of social networking platforms trying to grab customers’ attention and loyalty. Google+ is one of them.

As a part of Google products, Google+ emerges traditional social networking websites and integrates its online properties including Gmail, Hangout and YouTube. Although there are many negative feedbacks or attitudes towards Google+ from public (especially restricted commenting on YouTube), it increasingly becomes the second largest social networking site till now.

Also, it should be noticeable that, in greeting newcomers of the network, Google+ did more than expected to recruit, select, teach new members and protect original group from newcomers.

Like most of other social networking sites, it is welcomed and suggested to invite existing friends to join both your personal circle and/or the community you enjoined. Also, existing Gmail customer may receive the promotion email introducing the Google+ and its online properties. Furthermore, sharing buttons in other online pages increase the visibility of Google+. And public Google+ pages from celebrities like Barack Obama increase the possibility of attraction of newbies.

In somehow, I believe that Google+ is quite smart in trying to convince people from offline group (e.g. reading group) to merge online, by providing authority to the page owner. As a consequence, people may be influenced from word-of-mouth effect and quite easy to expand their user coverage.

 

The YouTube video are also “providing potential new members with an accurate and complete picture of what the members’ experience will be once they join increases the fit of those who join.”

To minimise the entry barriers, Google+ team provides lots of different formats of help methods such as starting tour, help centre, and help forum to make newcomers interact and become committed. Help forum, in particular, makes the interaction between old-timers and newcomers more directly in helping solving operating problems.

Help Forum

Help Forum

 

In addition, protecting old groups from these newcomers, there are some terms and conditions apply as an operating basement and each community has the authority to weed out “unnecessary” people to minimise the harm for the environment.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

Other sources:

https://plus.google.com/+JaanaNystr%C3%B6m/posts/M2mqNGY5Vzq

http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-social-media/google-plus?utm_content=buffer68adc&utm_medium=social&utm_source=plus.google.com&utm_campaign=buffer

https://plus.google.com/+GplusExpertise/posts

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google+

Reviews And Regulating

Recently, more and more social platforms such as Urbanspoon and Yelp are based on public reviews, which may provide benefits to those businesses for example restaurants. However, these benefits increasingly generate new sorts of “fraud” by publishing untruth reviews. In general, some of them are the owner or relatives who posting positive feedbacks, also there are some cases that pre-employees or competitors are trying to mislead customers with those negative opinions. As far as to go, there are some businesses are keen to pay existing users of the platform to write a good script for them. As the result, many people don’t trust these websites as they are not reliable.

So, how to regulate these misbehaviour and keeps the data clean and tidy?

Yelp_Logo_No_Outline_Color

Yelp, for example, previously introduced a sting operation to catch those businesses who were trying to manipulate their reviews in October 2012. And they did catch 8 companies. Over the next three months, they tried to using “consumer alert” within these fault businesses’ Yelp profile page (said “We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business.”) to get a more intensive regulation result. But, as there is high volume of fake reviews, the first eight businesses may just be treated as “a sample”, according to Mr Singley of Yelp.

 And will this sting work?

Well, it is believed that, the public shaming could increase the risk and the cost of fake reviews, therefore the prevalence will be deducted (Myle Ott, a doctoral candidate in computer science at Cornell). Based on these, public notices like what Yelp did may expose those companies and let others retrain themselves. However, limitations generate from high volume of data which make it more difficult and slow to censor.

download

Urbanspoon, however, did an opposite way of “manipulate” customers’ comments by deleting those negative disclosures and blocking users account without notification but keeping fake positive feedbacks from the owners. Even though Urbanspoon claimed that its operational policies prevent fraudulent reviews, and it has invested time building proprietary technology that identifies system fraud and gaming. Many people are still not convinced. This leads more and more customers think Urbanspoon is untrustworthy which potentially make the site lose their forces in the market. ACCC starts to investigate whether these sites need to be regulated by legislation to protect customers and offer them more reliable reviews.

 

Discussions of improvement list some possibilities. They could be possible by letting all reviews be tracking available, or each user who starting a new review has to provide a receipt as evidence. However, this still leaves some grey areas in the reviewing sites and such companies have to focus more on moderation.

 

Thank you for reading.

Chuan

 

 

Other Resources:

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1964722

http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/07/11/byte-sized-vitriol-internet-reviews-sour-for-restaurants/

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/18/technology/yelp-tries-to-halt-deceptive-reviews.html?_r=0

 

Dysfunctional Collective Intelligence

Dysfunctional Collective Intelligence. Thinking of this as an issue of web 2.0 and harnessing collective intelligence. Maybe the most debate of how to regulate and maintain the platform within the boundary.

Blog of Collective Intelligence (since 2003)

Below is an excerpt from How to Create a Group Mind | 100 Trillion Connections, by Duncan Work.

“A dysfunctional society, or group mind, is full of emotion-laden biases, fears, animosity, internal hostilities, greed, bitter or violent competitions (winner-take-all), or is simply deeply fragmented and incapable of making good decisions. All of these traits are indicators of very unhealthy group minds – so unhealthy as to be called insane, broken. So broken it doesn’t feel right to call them minds at all.”

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Pros and Cons of Social Media – ROI

Hi all, the following post is based our team – The Real World next Monday’s (7th Oct, 7pm) Google Hangout activities.   #smpro_con

Traditional Media ROI vs. Social Media ROI

In traditional media, communication is one way– content attracts an audience.  Based on counting the number of newspaper they sold and how many flyers they spread. It is much easier to form an idea of what the potential benefits a business could get from traditional media. Also, by using this, a business has a pretty good idea of who they are talking to, and the reach of their effort. Also they know how to evaluate audience respond, and figuring the ROI as a straightforward calculation to persuade investors.  Right?

Now, most of these effort are focus on social media.  I know even though on the marketing side, compare to the traditional media, the investment in social media is still not enough, however, no one could doubt that, social media is as incredibly complex as the millions of different personalities who log on to its networks every day. They are potential profit the organization want!  But, There’s not a clear direction/ strategy of communication and the benefits of social media is intangible and pretty hard to predict.  For example, when an agency post a post about your product on social media web site, the main focus of the public may be shift to comments section merely because of a unreasoned debate. And then, no one will focus on the original product, your revenue of this investment is hard to predict then. The reason behind this is that, social media integrates clicks, comments, follows, likes, pins, posts, tweets, and shares etc, and those actions may or may not translate to sales, which is hardly to predict.  To be honest, if giving sales a quick boost is the only reason an organization is on social media, then social media could only lead to failure and cost/waste much.

 

So, as the point of mine, benefits of social media is more based on following three points.

  1. Building brand awareness
  2. Growing targeted customer database
  3. Improving services and reputation

However, business’ reputation is really hard to manage based on organizational expect. This needs a good and experienced team with prompt and proper decision making/ strategies.

There is also several formulas and rules for organization to predict and calculate the ROI of social media online, however, these could be found easily and selected variously based on different managers’ experience and matter of fact of the organization.

Dis-benefits/ cons listed below:

  1. Unpredictable costs – software misfit, virus attack, increased member fees of social media etc. This could cause a huge damage and losing unpredictable money, as well as confidential information in somehow.
  2. Intangible costs – time consuming, unreachable campaign payback period. Estimation of a social media campaign always doesn’t work at all, and sometimes the payback period is relatively slow. Hence, during this period, the cost is very hard to estimate and record.
  3. Unpredictable revenue – how do an organization evaluate a customer’s database? Or how much is brand awareness?

Unpredictable revenue and costs let the ROI calculation been underestimate and unreliable.

As the result, businesses, small companies in particular, may lose their confidence of social media operation, as most of the investments are unforeseeable high and payback period is long. However, operating should not based on figures only, it is suggested that businesses should also consider and evaluate previous and peers’ investments as a baseline to come up strategies and make decisions.

 

Thanks  and Hannah for ideas support.

Comments and Ideas are welcome. Thanks all!

Chuan

Pros and Cons of Social Media – Individual Perspective

Hi all, the following post is based our team – The Real World next Monday’s (7th Oct, 7pm) Google Hangout activities.   #smpro_con

First, I would like to share a youtube describing facts of social media in 2013.

As there are several advantages and disadvantages of social media impact on individual, here I am going to list the main pros and cons.

Pros:

  1. Increase communication/ circle with other people – stay up to speed with friends. A good example is facebooks and twitters. Any news or post will be notified to the user, which is much convenient. Also, it is more useful to connect with old friends and colleagues. However, this could be the cons as it will use lots of personal information during the “searching process” on social platform. And will be talked more later.
  2. Increase work opportunities/ connections – more and more people are trading network sites as application platform, eg, LinkedIn. There are more than 200 million people registered to the LinkdIn, and every second this figure will increase by 4. Not only job seekers, the charm of LinkedIn is that it also could connect to your potential boss. But, yes, it has bad side as well, remember the theory of six degree separation? You and a stranger is only has six “friends’ friend”. Well connect professional network could make your career in danger as well.
  3. More convenience for reaching news and information – yes, because more organization is trying to reach the public online. As an end customer, social network is the most convenient way to communicate with retailer or your interested organization. You can use social media platform like facebook for recent promotions. It even benefits the pre-sale enquires and after sales services.

Cons:

  1. Security risk – identity may be stolen: 8% of social media users share their birth date publicly, 63% share their high school name, 18% share their phone number, 12% share a pet’s name; each of those pieces of information is frequently used for account security verification and can be used for identity theft (1).   Also the risks may be increase as computer virus hacking. As mentioned previous, many people store their personal information online, a Trojan horse program, for example, could risk these information, even bank account or credit card. use of some important data by anti social members given by the persons on their profiles. Family picture, for example, pictures of girls are their primary targets for kidnap. And this should be avoided.
  2. Increase chance to break the law – sometimes people may use social sites to post false information and mislead public, and this could push the person to edge of the law and legislation and endanger the public: On Sep. 5, 2012 false rumors of fires, shootouts, and caravans of gunmen in a Mexico City suburb spread via Twitter and Facebook caused panic, flooded the local police department with over 3,000 phone calls, and temporarily closed schools (2).

Well, seems we should minimize our social media usage guys. That’s it, Thanks all. Welcome comment below for any idea sharing or questions.

References:

  1. Alexandra Topping, “Social Networking Sites Fuelling Stalking, Report Warns,” http://www.guardian.co.uk, Feb. 1, 2012
  2. Olga R. Rodriguez, “Mexico Tweets Cause Massive Shootout Panic,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com, Sep. 8, 2012

Calculate ROI of social media – In a real case

Calculating Return on Investment (ROI) is a financial technique in budgeting and investment appraisal. However, when talk about the calculation of ROI of social media, it is much harder.

Firstly, we have to understand what’s business’ investment return (measured by money) and what’s the cost of investment (measured by money). Simply, the formula to calculate ROI of social media = (investment return – cost of investment) / cost of investment.

However, there have more barriers when you doing these measurement. For example, the organization of our second assignment is the Eventcorp, which is a licensed travel agency more focused on organizational assistant of creating program enhancements such as executive reward, team building, motivation, special events, gala events, product launches and major productions. The main problem is that they are randomly using social media to promote themselves. Still, several potential problems here:

1.         How to evaluate the Investment Returns

This should include calculate intangible benefits including the value of customer data, customer feedback, and value of the customer etc, also it should add up with tangible benefits like any increased revenues. Assume that each customer value is $50, and social media platform has raised 51 likes in Facebook, and 38 followers only on the twitter. It should be noticed that, 6 of Facebook fans were actual customers, which is assumed as $1000 value. Hence, the total value of customer on social media platform in Eventcorp is almost equal to (51+28)*$50+6*$1000=$9950.

2.         Calculate the Cost of Investment

Cost of investment include the amount of money spend on the social media, and convert the resources spent into money to consider. However, some costs are unforeseeable and very hard to predict. Based on the organizational actual case, this cost could be evaluated as the 1 hour per week, with cost of 50 per hour for since Oct in 2010, which is 52*3*$50=$7800.

The ROI of social media therefore = (9950-7800)/7800 = 0.2756

However, the calculation has many limits. First, there is not enough insights into the customer value, and the revenue/ cost figure may not reliable enough, overestimate may occur. Next, research of social media usage is based on personal point of view, didn’t support by communication of the Eventcorp.

Thank you for reading. Please comment.

Chuan

Social Networks and Social Media Monitoring

Last week, it was talked about Australian Taxation Office’s social media engagement. It is more focus on its twitter usage. In this week’s blog, more focus will be put on its facebook page.

ATO Facebook Insight

As shown by the Facebook insight on 22nd Sep, there are only 272 people talked about ATO.  Furthermore, as shown in the figure, trend of people’s talking about rate and like rate in past month remains unchanged. The trend has nothing big change which almost remains around 200 people per period.  According to the review of ATO’s Facebook Page, it is found that there is no much effort put on the customer comments’ reply. Similar with its Twitter account, as mentioned by last post, the Facebook page and Twitter account is managed by someone on behalf of ATO who only in charge of posting some “boring” and “official” posts, which let people feel sense of distance.

ATO Facebook insight Oct

However, compare to the Facebook insight of ATO on 2th Oct, the figure of  “talked about” has dramatically increased to 1,925. based on the research, this could be caused by some recent posts related to the closing date of tax return.  Additionally, between 22nd Sep and 5th Oct, some people posts on the page of ATO to express their different opinion against ATO services and/or ask for help. However, it is also found that, like previously, the reply of these comments is just like: ” thanks for your advise, please refer to www. ourwebsite to lodge your complain…”, which let me think crucial decision must be made on someone who is not control and monitor the facebook page. But, if in this case, how come ATO registered this Facebook official page but with no prompt management.

Meanwhile, good news is that, according to Socialmention.com, there are more than 137 neutral sentiment were catched by the website, with 22 positive and 14 negative sentiment mentioned. Unfortunately, as indicated, “strength” – the likelihood of the band been discussed on social media is only 2%, which is relatively lower than others, like Immigration Australia (4%).

To sum up, it is cleared that the ATO is not get involved deeply enough of social media and social network. Improvement, based on self opinion, could focus on engagement/ relationship with the public by providing prompt and practical reply to any comments first.

Thanks for reading today. Comments always welcomed.

Chuan

More engagement = better services?

Organization from the professional service sector also uses social media technologies that help them to success with achieving benefits. In this week’s blog, I am going to talk about the relationship/interaction between the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and their social media (particularly focus on blog, twitter, and wikis today) usage.

As we all known, ATO is an Australian government statutory agency who respond in Australian federal taxation system, superannuation system, Australian business register and co-responding for tertiary education loan system in Australia.

 

As part of ATO’s online services, they are aiming to communicate with the community in different ways. Based on their websites information and research, they have launched three more channels of communication via social media platform;

Twitter- latest updates on new measures, changes to legislation, reminders of due dates, system outages, upcoming events and new products;

Facebook- updates on a wide range of important information you need to know about your tax and superannuation;

YouTube- videos on various tax administration topics to keep you up to date with what’s new and important for you to know about your tax and super.

Also, ATO has a site under Wikipedia, talking about its history, organization structure, strategy direction, performance and etc.

According to ATO’s latest annual report, there were over 9,270 followers in Twitter, and this figure increased to 15,080 (accessed on 12/09/13) in 2013. However, it is found that there are almost no comments under each tweet, which means it is only a way to share information that already exist to the public but rarely “communicate” with the community. Even though ATO itself has the positive view of their community engagement process, I personally still think it is not enough. For example, there is no blog been used as a second source of service guide, and limit communicate interact even in the twitter. Maybe that is because of its characteristic as a governmental agency which presents legislation and/or government. Thus, each activity/reply in the Twitter should not been on behalf of the employee who is behind the screen, which lets the communication actually being harder and too official.

ATO cares about social technics and communication with the community. Relates these social technologies engagement to value levers that mentioned by McKinsey Global Institute, 2012, the most related one is to improve collaboration and communication. Yes, ATO is encouraging the public to communicate with them by using Twitter and other social media platform as talked above. They contributes to increase their speed of any legislation changes, new announcement published and launches new product. Maybe there is a briar in the way of communication and collaboration, but it is much better. Further, social platform, for instance, Twitter, also helps to gather information. There is no doubt that, Twitter helps ATO collect information from the public and also provide the feedback of their services. It should be noticed that, ATO conducts interviews and primary research with end user while these platforms as well.

 

So, does implementation of more social technologies equal to better professional service? In ATO’s case, I think it is, but it can be better.

Thanks for reading and look forward any comment.

Chuan