Posts

Showing posts from March, 2008

Wow!

I’ve just gotten back from our announcement of Ringside Networks at OSBC and SNAP in San Francisco. The feedback and encouragement was very nice, and it seems we may have hit a need in the market. We are only at Beta level right now, but will be in production by June. Hopefully we will have a couple of sites up and running our software in the next week or two.

Our team worked very hard – a big thank you to Rich Friedman, Jason Kinner, Mark Lugert, Mike Schachter, Bill Reichert, Brian Robinson, Jeff Kiesel, Rich Frisbie and the dozen or so “Friends of Ringside” who helped us get so much done. I’ve always believed that killer teams can produce a lot in a short period of time – and this team has delivered. Try out the software today by downloading it here.

Here are some of the highlights from the press and blogosphere:

“This sounds incredibly cool. It means that existing corporate websites can be made socially aware.”
http://www.cnet.com/8301-13505_1-9900858-16.html

“Ringside Networks …

Ringside Networks Brings the Power of Social Networking to Every Website

Today we launch the Beta version of our Ringside Networks Social Application Server. This is the first open source platform that enables businesses to weave social capabilities directly into their existing websites while seamlessly integrating with social networks such as Facebook. The open source software is available for immediate download at www.ringsidenetworks.com and www.ringsidenetworks.org, the corresponding open source community website.

Companies have spent far too much time and effort building their brands, websites, content and applications to hand over social networking to some third party. Ringside Networks gives them a way to get control over this important new way of interacting with their users and customers, while still being able to tie into the big social networks.

By integrating social networking as an integral part of the user experience of corporate websites, companies will be able to directly engage their global communities, enabling them to interact and commun…

March Madness

Image
We have a bit of March Madness at Ringside getting ready to launch tomorrow. But for the rest of the country, it is the NCAA college basketball tournament - and of course CBS Sports big deal with Facebook.

CBS has provided this year's bracket system on Facebook (a Facebook application). Hundreds of thousands of Facebook users (including my 11th grade daughter) have made their choices and anxiously compare themselves to the rest of their friends, or within their high school or across the world. CBS is going to make $25 Million this year from on-line advertising of the tournament, and the Facebook crowd is a big channel for them. It also engenders the type of engagement and virality we have been talking about in this blog.

Come tomorrow when Ringside Networks launches our Beta open source project, folks like CBS will have a common platform that they can build applications like this on. A platform that will enable them to build one application that runs on both Facebook and their …

Social Networking for Every Web Site

Next week Ringside Networks will release a Social Application Server in free and open source that will allow any web site to take advantage of social networking.

I read this blog from Mark Brooks that says we may be on the right track.

“Consumers are sick and tired of being advertised at. Traditional advertising is dead. If you can't afford the time to have ambassadors and evangelists for your brand converse with your users directly through social networks, your brand will die.”

Ringside Networks is going to enable any web site to enhance their communications with their user base by creating and deploying social applications, and expand it beyond by allowing web sites to integrate with the large social networks like Facebook.

More coming on Tuesday, March 25th!

Open Source Meets Social Networking

Next week we will bring open source to the Social Networking market.

I was questioned about the choice of this by a friend who said something along the lines of open source being good for markets that were already established – referring to Red Hat, JBoss and MySQL as examples where the open source project was a business driven way to undercut the pricing of larger vendors in $Billion markets. He was implying that open source was not good for new markets or for innovation.

Obviously, I don’t see it quite that way. We at Ringside Networks view Open Source as a way to not only bring innovation to the market, but as a way to enable others to unlock the power of social networking in new and innovative applications. Open source has proven to do this in the past (remembering these is the only advantage I can think of being old). I figured that I would share some examples…

UNIX was the first big example. When AT&T first developed the initial versions in 1969, there were certainly exi…

On-Line Advertising Spending up 28% in 2008

Good blog by Henry Blodget giving data on the continuing shift of advertising revenue to on-line. Last year on-line was $18B out of the total $58B according to this market data.

Again, I ask if there is real return on this that creates a competitive advantage?

Search Advertising vs. Social Applications

In an earlier post I argued that search marketing is a break-even business for those investing in it. In this post I want to get down to some hard numbers and determine where the break-even is for investing in your own social networking tools.

Analysis 1: Let’s look at the costs of search advertising. The costs range from $0.10 to $5.00. Here is a sample average cost currently on Google:
$0.55 – “Nike”
$0.85 – “running shoes”
$0.72 – “social networking”

Commerce sites have a range of making a sale from a click-thru typically between 1 in 50 to 1 in 250. In the case of “running shoes”, the cost would then be 50 X $0.85 = $42.50. Figure a pair of nice running shoes is about $100, with a gross margin of about 50%. So an on-line retailer would make $7.50 gross profit. And that is for an excellent conversion rate and not counting the overhead of fulfillment and running the business. If the rate falls to 1 purchase in 60 click-thrus, then it is a loss. Competitors simply bid up the rate…

Creative Advertising

I had a number of comments about my last post. People thought I was saying that advertising did not deliver a competitive advantage.

Let me state clearly – creative, targeted advertising is a competitive advantage. My point was that social networking might be a more efficient way to spend at least part of the advertising dollar.

Taking your own web site to a higher level by introducing a social context is something that aggregates value directly to your business. How you go about that still needs that very high level of creativity that the advertising industry has always delivered. In fact leaving social applications to a bunch of software developers is probably not the right method to getting a return on social networking.

Think of social networking as an integral part of your advertising program. Think about how social can take advertising to the next level. It is not just putting an ad on TV, a newspaper and a web page. It is about how to really engage your current customer…

On-line Advertising - No Competitive Advantage

As pointed out in my previous blog, online advertising is a BIG business, and social networking is becoming a significant part of that market.

The question is whether spending ad money with a social network is really the best way to take advantage of Social Networking. Is it better to spend at least some of that money on your own company’s web site to add social networking capabilities?

Let’s look at Search Advertising. It is based on a model that takes all of the profit from competitors. Company A and Company B will both bid up the price of the ad for an item that they both sell until the point that they do not make a profitable return. I know there are many e-commerce businesses who sprung up and took advantage of early leadership in search ads, building up spending to be 25%+ of their total revenue. They initially made money as they built up sophistication on using Adwords, finding profitable keywords ahead of their competition – but those advantages decrease over time. Then Co…