Archive for advertising tag

WebRings And Blockchains. Can this 1990s discovery model power the decentralised web?

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My previous article ‘Decentralising Facebook with Blockchains and Userfeeds’ received a lot of interest from the community and many thoughtful responses in the comments.

I have to confess that that using ‘Facebook’ in the title was a bit provocative on my side. The goal was to introduce the idea of userfeeds in a somewhat tangible way and Facebook is always a great target to aim at when talking about decentralisation :)

But the main idea behind ‘userfeeds’ is more general:

how can we rethink the existing discovery models on the internet using the blockchain?

Bitcoin proved it’s possible to exchange monetary value online without third parties, so can we apply the same model to exchange attention online? (exchange links, traffic etc)

Discovery is extremely centralised today with Google and Apple running their respective app stores, Google running Search , Amazon being the key discovery platform for products, YouTube for videos etc. The key element of social platforms such as Facebook or Reddit is also discovery.

We’ve already explored the disadvantages of closed data platforms and the need for the more open and participatory architectures in the previous article.

So let’s look into potential applications of the ‘userfeeds’ — the decentralised discovery networks based on the idea of WebRings.

Back to the 1990s — the WebRings

Some of you might remember the pre-Google era of the Internet. There was an interesting concept that emerged at that time — the WebRing.

So what is a WebRing?

Quoting Wikipedia:

“A webring (or web ring) is a collection of websites linked together in a circular structure, and usually organized around a specific theme, often educational or social. They were popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, particularly among amateur websites.”

The value proposition of webrings was to help website owners to get more targeted traffic to their sites. For users, webrings helped to discover more websites from the niche they were interested in. In the pre-Google era, this was a great way to discover new sites from the same category and many sites grouped together to exchange traffic within the ring.

Webrings required an operator called the RingMaster who was a moderator of the ring and a dedicated server to host the webring.

WebRings were one of the first discovery models for sites when the web was still in its infancy and much more decentralised than it is today. In a way, WebRings were a decentralised and a bott0m-up method of curating the Web before Google’s robots entered the game.

So why this still could be relevant in 2015?

My hypothesis is that the webring idea combined with the blockchain+userfeeds could form a basis for decentralised discovery networks.

Users would announce their actions of joining, leaving or forming the Ring on the blockchain and in userfeeds they control.

Ring Owners wouldn’t have to run the infrastructure anymore (the blockchain would take care of that), they would be just a specified roles on the blockchain responsible for maintaining the Ring.

This could be especially attractive for the creators of:

  • bots (Slack, Messenger, Telegram)
  • mobile apps
  • Virtual Reality worlds

that would allow them collaboratively build alternative discovery mechanisms competitive to centralised stores. (BotRings, AppRings, MetaverseRings? )

There’s lots of potential for experimentation with voting and monetary exchange within and between Rings. For example: participants of the rings would vote to accept new joiners or a joining fee could be split between the existing members.

It’s one of the potential applications of Userfeeds that’s really exciting and we’ll be looking into it in more detail.

What do you think about it?

5 mobile marketing ideas for small businesses

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You’ve heard it many times already – “Mobile changes everything”. It indeed does. Mobile penetration goes up, new smartphones are being released, every single mobile related metric is going up.

But majority of mobile marketing discussions in the blogosphere revolve around big brands, big ideas & spectacular case studies. One might get an illusion that you need an app for a well crafted mobile strategy for your business.

But building an app is one of the riskiest mobile marketing tactics you can use as a business today.

You spend a lot of cash upfront (design & development, not counting your time) for an app that probably few people will ever see. The sheer amount of apps in both app stores (Google Play & AppStore) create a massive discovery challenge which some of the marketers realise only after the app is completed.

It’s obvious that mobile is a game changer. But it should be easier for existing small & medium sized businesses to enter the mobile game without risking their money in the ‘app gamble’ .

So I’d like to have a different take on the topic today – to forget about big marketing budgets and come up with ideas that any existing, traditional business can try with minimal risk.

How billions of lenses will change what we watch

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Written word has been with us for a long time. Over centuries we’ve learned as a culture to recognise various forms of written expression in short and long forms. From several hundred page novels to 140 character Twitter messages, from sophisticated poetry to simple classified ads. Books, newspapers, letters, leaflets, magazine articles, SMS messages – writing can be used to communicate in a variety of ways.

But it wasn’t always like that.

Ability to read & write was initially limited to only a handful of monastic scholars and written forms took form of religious scripts (at least in European cultures). Fast forward to the XXI century and written communication has become accessible to almost everyone and became a natural communication tool with multitude of forms.

Today ubiquitous smartphones with video cameras give everyone access to a superb video recording technology. Capturing moving images with sound becomes as accessible as writing with a pen on paper.

I’d even say that ff you own a smartphone, it’s more likely that you carry a video camera with you rather than a pen.

Yet majority of us still think about video as a full length movie, a TV show, a 30 second advertisement. This is what TV broadcasters and Hollywood got us used to over many years.

What excites me the most about smartphones combined with YouTube, Vine and Instagram is the variety of short video forms that emerge from the hundreds of hours being uploaded to those platforms every minute.

The most interesting video forms are yet to emerge from the billions of lenses recording, mixing and sharing realities around them.

It will be noisy out there but new patterns and video formats will unfold soon.