Thursday, July 29, 2010

Facebook tapping into Search - by letting you Ask Questions!

It's now official: you'll be soon able to post your questions on any topic to an audience of over 500 million people, as promissed by Facebook. Facebook has introduced a new 'ask a question' option, which will allow you:

- to post questions;
- upload photos;
- create polls and get:
- personalized answers,

and all that in an attempt to leverage "collective wisdom",to which I'd add: worldwide wisdom! Wondering about the benefits? To name just a few:

- all questions will become visible to all Facebook users (although you'll still have the option to restrict the option and make it visible only among your followers/friends;

- all questions will become browsable and thus...- searcheable!!

- they can also be tagged with specific themes so that people with interests in those areas are more likely to see them!

- also, to ask a question to the community, you'll just click the "Ask Question" button at the top of the homepage. You can also ask questions about your friends from their profiles, similarly to how you would post on their Walls:

- Moreover, you'll be able to browse answers from people with deeper knowledge on a topic or click "Follow" under any question to receive a notification each time someone submits a new answer.

So, basically you'll now have a blend of some Twitter options (in terms of broadcasting) and a bit of LinkedIn and Yahoo!Answers with their Q&A tools and polls..Nice having it all under one umbrella, right?

Anyway, the service is only available at the moment to a small number of beta testers (50 000 selected users), who will provide a feedback, based on which we'll see the final product on our "update profile" tables:)

As for the opportunities to make your voices heard - either as a merchant, an advertiser or just any random user - remember to craft your questions neat and nicely, so that you'll get your audience and why not - follow it!

Have fun and see you on Facebook Q&A!!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Facebook - now as a Hollywood Movie..about Facebook!

Facebook will soon have its own story told.. Will it be a success? At this point the buzz figures are already speaking out loud, potentially powered at least by one in 12 human beings on this planet who now "happen" to be Facebook users, numbering already 500 millions chaps! If it will prove more popular than the social website itself - not sure, yet - “The Social Network” is quite an ambitious production: take a look at the trailer released just a few days ago:

The movie is based on a book written by Ben Mezrich, “The Accidental Billionaire”. Although it speaks about Facebook's foundation history, it's using primarily co-founder's side of the story - Eduardo Saverin. Mezrich stated that he tried to get in touch with Mark Zuckerberg for his own views, but was unable to reach him.

The movie begins with Zuckerberg entering Harvard College, showcasing him wanting to become a part of the popular circle in high school and inventing the idea of a website where people can post their college experiences, photos, and innermost thoughts. This is how Facebook was born..

The movie literally follows Zuckerberg through the ups and downs that fame and money can sometimes bring.

A few curiosities to take away:

- Facebook was launched in 2004, firstly within Harvard Colleage walls (for internal access only);
- within 2 hours of the site being made available to the public, Zuckerberg recieved 22,000 facebook hits;
- Mark Zuckerberg's character will be played by Jessie Eisenberg (starred in “Zombieland”);
- The movie is set to be available in theatres on October 1, 2010;
- It was directed by David Fincher, known for previous productions “Fight Club”, “Zodiac,” and “Seven.”

Enjoy!! Barely wait to exhange some reviews as soon as it comes to UK..and yes, don't rush into falling in love with this incredible success story as yet, it might be a bit biased (remember there's only one side of the story in place, plus it's all about the new emerging form of marketing - the social media one!)


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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Google Search will Differentiate Retailers by – Consumer Reviews!

Beware: Google announced its debut as Online Consumer Reviews Aggregator.
Retailers and merchants should now be aware that consumers’ reviews will from now on be integrated into Google Product Search, which makes it both attractive and tricky.

It’s already a fact that two of the most utilized tools for consumers on the Web are search and consumer-generated product reviews. It proves that we no longer care for the actual search results only, but also consumers’ reviews related to the products we’re enquiring about. We tend to “listen” to what other online users say about the products we’re searching for. Why? Obviously, because that’s a convenient, free-of-charge and usually unbiased “back-up”.

The most curious is that we’re more likely to trust positive sentiment in order to make purchase decisions.

Thus, Google has now decided to deliver both the actual search results with a “bonus” on top of it: online consumer reviews, related to your product search queries. Firstly: it’s a premier initiative and will soon be fully implemented.

Now - what is it & how it works?

Firstly - that’s how it looks like:

As you can see, beneath the actual ad listings for a randomly picked “appliances” term (within the Sponsored Links field) Google suggests a few merchants who acquire now “star ratings”. You may also see the number of reviews next to each merchant domain: (426 ratings for AppliancesOnline and 223 for John Lewis).

As mentioned on Google’s Official Blog, this advertising feature is called “the Seller Rating Extension” and it aims at “making it easier for online users to identify highly-rated merchants when they are searching on”. Basically, it does it by attaching the merchant star rating to Google Product Search.

To be able to attach the star ratings, Google has partnered with Bazaarvoice - a technology provider in hosted social commerce applications, which in turn connects online users with ratings from third-party seller rating websites (such as : Kelkoo,,,etc)

It’s really important to note that the Seller Ratings will always provide review ratings for the advertiser, not the product!.

So while searching for the term “notebooks” for example, you won’t get ratings related to the quality of the notebooks themselves, but more an appreciation of the merchant or the retailer, who should be eligible to be automatically “assigned” the seller reviews:

The feature is now running for online merchants only
, triggering only English/ This means that any advertiser running on this domain may have a review showing against their ad.
Also, the names used in these ratings are the same as the advertiser’s Display URL.


• Google Products will only show a review if there are more than 30 unique reviews and if the advertiser has 4 or more stars!
• AdWords links these Seller Ratings using the domain of the Visible URL on the advertiser’s ad;
• Important: existing plusboxes or sitelinks on the ad should be removed, so that it becomes “attractive” for seller rating extensions.
• Ad quality doesn’t trigger the ratings - the number of unique reviews and the number of stars – does!

It’s an opt-in feature, updated automatically as soon as the merchant qualifies, but what happens if the company wants to opt-out?

• The retailer can add their domain to Google blacklist using this form:
this form:

• Blacklisting turnaround is usually within 48 hours.
Improving the Reviews:

In order to improve the online consumer reviews, a focus on providing excellent customer service within the online space is essential.

This can be done by ensuring that you:

• Read reviews entered by your customers – identify previously flagged up problems/complaints and post any solutions provided (to show receptivity and action: this increases consumers’ trust)
• Make sure that review sites display the correct name and home page URL. If you have a Merchant Center account, you should additionally ensure that the name and URL are consistent here too.

Finally, even though the feature sounds exciting and curious, also as an advantage to highly ranked merchants, in order to be able to build more trust among their consumers, it still leaves 2 major questions behind:
- How accurate enough will the selection process be for the rating sources that Google will rely on? (Bazaarvoice confirms to have partnered with over 800 consumer rating and review sites)
- Also, since the ratings refer to the brand itself and not the product you’ve searched for (brands might have a plethora of products/services) how relevant will the ratings be to the individual product searches? Do we want to know how reputable the merchant is or how reliable his certain products are?
So far so good, you’re now able to dig into social e-commerce and build on your brand’s quality ratings (except for your product quality ratings..).

Good luck,
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