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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