Archive for May, 2009

How to Defeat the Revolutionaries

Posted by Chris Kieff on May 15th, 2009

Operating a social site becomes a challenge when you make what appears to you to be a small change to the system and the users revolt.  This is being experienced by the operators of Twitter, the exploding social microblogging site.  Twitter made a small change to the way their system works without announcing the change, or apparently consulting the users beforehand.  You may recall that Facebook has seen a series of these user revolts recently over their change in the layout, and changes in their terms of use.

So what is a concerned community manger to do when they want to change something?

Talk with your users-Duh!

So what is a concerned community manger to do when they want to change something?  Talk with your users.  Identify your most vociferous, super-users and invite them into a VIP Group.  Discuss changes you’re considering with this group.  Seek their feedback, and see what they find interesting, frustrating, useful and useless.  If you happen to be running your community on the Ripple6 platform, you can use our consumer research tool  Social Insights to help you create this group and monitor it.  (Marketers use Social Insights to conduct consumer research too.)

You may also want to create a second group of newbies who are not experienced with the site, who can look at it with fresh eyes.  The newbies will see the that your super users have grown immune to over time.  Taking input from both groups and giving them a little advanced notice on upcoming changes will defuse the Revolution before it begins.

But the bottom line here is that you should be communicating with your community.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking like old media and declaring that you know what’s best for your audience.  Because it’s not an audience any more.  “Audience” comes from audio and it means to listen.  Community is related to commune which means to meet.  You work with a community, not an audience as long as you keep that in mind you’ll do fine.

Photo credit Flickr Uploaded on February 26, 2006 by weaponofchoice

Meredith Continues to Expand Social Networking Footprint With

Posted by Katie Morse on May 6th, 2009

Invites America to Join Growing Digital Community of Cooks

NEW YORK, May 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP), is continuing to expand its online presence with Mixing Bowl(TM), a social network built entirely around food.

Mixing Bowl (, which launched in January, is the ultimate online community for cooks of any level. With an emphasis on user-generated content, the site invites everyday chefs to come together and exchange recipes, plan gatherings or celebrations, share photos, participate in contests, post messages, and more. Mixing Bowl’s powerful social networking engine gives users unprecedented power to filter and control their experience.

The site is the latest addition to The Meredith Women’s Network, a growing portfolio of digital properties that engages 15 million unique visitors monthly, according to Omniture.

“Mixing Bowl is built around people,” says Jeff Myers, VP/GM, Meredith Corporation. “More and more cooks are going online to find recipes, plan meals, and to connect with others who share their passion for food. The site takes the online food experience to another level by creating communities that empower users to choose how they connect and engage with each other.”

The Mixing Bowl platform offers advertisers and marketers unique opportunities to target consumers by creating groups to test new branded recipes and products, sponsoring contests, and offering coupons.

“With Mixing Bowl, we’re breaking new ground with sponsors,” says Lauren Wiener, SVP, Meredith Interactive. “Marketers can become part of the site’s social fabric, which means immediate feedback and valuable insights into their customers. Plus, the powerful analytics tools allow marketers to measure the effectiveness of their site activities and the community as a whole.”

Meredith engaged Ripple6, a leading provider of white label social media services, to build, enable and maintain Mixing Bowl on its platform. “In addition to their tools for measurement and monetization, the Ripple6 group functionality provides us with a powerful platform for marketers and sponsors to come into Mixing Bowl, participate, and add value to the community,” said Myers.

The site is being promoted online, in-book, and via e-newsletter, through Meredith’s portfolio of media brands. Additional customized features will continue to roll out in 2009. As an extension of the website, a Mixing Bowl special interest publication will be introduced this summer.

“Mixing Bowl significantly enriches our strategic goal of deepening our conversation with women on all platforms, but particularly within the digital space,” says Jack Griffin, President, Meredith Publishing Group. “We believe it strongly positions Meredith for growth in this key strategic sector of our media business.”

Contact: Amanda Cortese / / 212.551.7087

Becky Wisdom / / 212.551.7189

Newspapers Build Digital Portfolios

Posted by Katie Morse on May 4th, 2009

Gannett, Others Look to ‘Emerge From Chaos’ as Hybrid Print-Web Players


Published: May 04, 2009

NEW YORK ( — Myth: newspapers stuck their heads in the sand and just hoped the internet would go away.

Reality: Newspapers took some of the biggest, earliest swings on the web, most turned out to be misses, and then got steamrolled by Google just like everyone else.

The nation’s print media may be on life support, but some are quietly building digital portfolios again — albeit on a smaller scale — and some are starting to bear fruit.

We’re not talking about the digital editions of papers themselves, but startups that take old media in new directions. Gannett, for example, the nation’s biggest publisher with 85 dailies, has acquired a half dozen startups, and taken stakes in several others that will contribute meaningfully to the $1 billion in digital revenue it expects to collect in 2009. For those keeping score, News Corp. missed the $1 billion mark in 2008, even with MySpace in the portfolio.

“Gannett is trying to harness technologies so that it can emerge from this chaos as a hybrid digital company,” said Ken Doctor, news analyst at research firm Outsell.

Digital diversification
Gannett’s portfolio of digital start-ups includes Pointroll, which powers some of the most innovative rich-media display ads on the web, including Apple’s ads on The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Pointroll, acquired in 2005, is now up to 350 employees and served a billion impressions for 1,500 agency and advertiser clients in 2008.

“The ultimate goal is to transform Gannet into a real digital leader by leveraging the strength of content and the audience that it has and extending that into the digital world,” said Pointroll CEO Jason Tafler.

Other digital investments at Gannett include ShopLocal, which is putting Gannett newspapers’ circular business (still an $8 billion business) online; Ripple6, maker of social networking tools; and MomsLikeMe, which operates 80 local mothering sites around the country. All are being integrated with Gannett’s Digital Media Network, a network of Gannett-owned sites, including 85 daily newspapers and 23 TV stations, launched last week…

Read the entire article here…

The Era of Social Commerce is Upon Us

Posted by Chris Kieff on May 1st, 2009

On his widely read blog this week, Web Strategy by Jeremiah, Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester talks about the coming ages of the social web.    It’s an excellent post and you should read it. He discusses the coming age when websites will be able to offer capabilities like social commerce.  We here at Ripple6 agree wholeheartedly with Forrester that social commerce will change the face of the web as we know it.   However, we disagree with them in one tiny area- the timing of this occurrence.  That’s because we believe that the Era of Social Commerce is upon us.

theeraofsocialcommerceIn the chart at right you can see that Forrester is predicting the Era of Social Commerce will begin in 2011 and reach maturity in 2013.  Ripple6 believes that this assessment misses the mark because Ripple6 is offering Social Commerce products today.  So while it may take 1 or 2 years for the market to mature, we believe that the advantages of  social commerce will be so dramatic that online businesses will need to adopt social commerce into their sites merely to stay competitive.

Why will the ubiquitous adoption of social commerce  happen so quickly?  Because it will change the face of the online purchase experience for the consumer and create such a tremendous advantage for the websites that deploy it that it will force the competition to match them or go out of business.

Let us give you an example; you just bought a new book and the estore you purchased from suggests that you may want to join a reverse book club.  What’s a reverse book club?  In an ordinary book club the club tells you which book to read and everyone discusses that book.  In a reverse book club, you decide which book you want to read and then join a club based upon people who bought that book at the same time.

The social commerce site will connect you with the people in the community who share your tastes.  With the next gadget you buy you are offered to join a club of people who’ve all purchased the same gadget at the same time.  Everyone in the club can share their experiences, their knowledge and how they use the gadget.  Ripple6 is offering this Smart Group technology to ecommerce vendors today.  And when added to the already “baked in” high value social applications our system offers it creates an unbeatable social commerce capacity.  (If you would like to discuss this technology for your ecommerce site contact us today.)

This technology will cause a revolution in ecommerce that will make the adoption of user reviews seem minor in comparison.  User reviews first appeared on ecommerce sites about 2005, and in 2008 they were nearly ubiquitous.

The first websites to deploy social commerce technology will be live this year, and their competitors will need to jump on the bandwagon very quickly to have any hope of competing with game changing technology like this.   We feel that social commerce will be such a great advantage that sites will be forced to deploy in 2010 in large numbers to stay competitive.

Therefore, while we agree with Forrester on their assessment of the coming changes, we feel that the time frame may be compressed significantly for the Era of Social Commerce.

How long do you feel it will take social commerce to be adopted by a majority of ecommerce sites?  Please leave your comment below:

Image credit- we copied a small portion of the chart Forrester published for purposes of illustration.  The original image is Copyright Forrester all rights reserved and can be found here: