A Fun Way to Earn Money with your Smartphone Camera

This is about fun AND being rewarded:

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The facts:
– many people carry a smartphone with a quite good camera with them at all times,
– advertisers, journalists, PR-agencies and companies constantly need fresh photography for ads, reports, presentations etc.,
– the smartphone guys could make many of these photos in adequate quality,
– a platform can bring them together – CrowdFoto.net

CrowdFoto.net is a simple setup:
1. clients enter their photo requests as briefings
2. smartphone guys pick briefings and make the photos
3. clients buy the ones they want
4. and the smartphone guys get some money for them.

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URL shortening – A scary experience

Recently I embedded an URL shortener API into my photo sharing service wowoodu/pics (API = the programming interface that allows you to embed a service to your website). URL shortening is a necessary feature to make it possible for my users to send their pictures via text messages and generally to keep the URL to be shared at around 30 to 40 characters.

So I got a bit.ly developer account and embedded an automatic shortening script into wowoodu/pics. At first this looked really great and produced the required short URLs. But apart from a scary technical glitch, there were three other reasons causing me to abandon the embedded URL shortener:

1. Technical issues
At first it all seemed to work perfectly with the embedded bit.ly API. But after one day, I discovered that every link was duplicated into at least 10 shortened links. After a while I found out, that the number of short links created with one original link was growing. Then I found out that my account has produced more than 5000 short links in 24 hours. And when I tested it, every link was multiplied into about 20 short links. Moreover, whenever I created a link but did not use the API to shorten it bit.ly would still create a short link (or 20 to be precise).
I was really scared.
I decided to immediately remove the embedded bit.ly code and emailed my experience to bit.ly’s technical support. That is now three weeks ago and I haven’t got an answer.
So, goodbye bit.ly.

2. Safety
With a normal URL you can in most cases find out where the link is leading you. With the shortened URL this is obstructed. And various sources have claimed already, that URL shortening services are being used by criminals on the web to trick users into clicking on links that install malware on their PCs/devices. Therefore, there is a movement away from shortlinks (unless they are produced by a trusted base like twitter).

3. Marketing
Although you can actually create custom shortlinks, the possibilities for branding are in fact limited. You are way better off to publish links that carry your domain name and try to limit the overall length of your link with the method described in the final section of this post.

4. Responsibility for users 
Embedding other services into your website or web service or application does often mean to share your users with this service. But sharing your users with another platform, albeit often unavoidable, is also a violation of your responsibilities for your users. When you get a service out of that, as with Google analytics, you will probably sacrifice your responsibility for the service that you wish to get. In this case it’s fair to at least warn your users that they’re being tracked by Google analytics. A good way to do this is to have a disclaimer in your imprint. But one can make it a moral habit to embed as few services as possible to share your users as little as possible.

Shortening URLs without shorteners
Currently, The URLs for the pictures to be shared with wowoodu/p is 40 characters – short enough to be shared on twitter and in text messages and just 6 to 8 characters longer then goog.le and bit.ly. This was achieved by naming the directory and the link producing file with just one character and creating a random filename for the pictures that is eight characters long. I could actually do with a filename that is less than five characters long, but to save three characters is probably not worth the loss of safety.

If you’re interested to see how this picture sharing service works, visit wowoodu.com/p. It’s advantage is that pictures are stored on the server for 24 hours only (instead of being shared forever) . We are planning to let the user decide how long his picture should be available on the server. But this is  a feature that has yet to be developed.

Have fun! And I’m always happy for feedback.

2 most stupid words in marketing

Warning – this is a marketing rant. I am completely fed up with the question: “Who is your target group?”

Why do I think this is the stupidest question marketers and mostly non-marketers could ask?

Because, if I showed you a ball pen, you would probably not ask this question: right?

However, if you didn’t know a ball pen and if this was the first time to see a ball pen, you would probably ask: what is it for? Or would you really still ask: what is the target group?

So in my opinion, today, when ever confronted with a companies new product, many of us ask about the target group, when actually the right and logic question would be: what is this for. Or if you really must use funky business termination: what is the benefit or what need does it serve?

Unfortunately that brings us to the second stupid word in marketing and business today: The use case!!!

This is not as bad as the target group question but if people ask you for the use case, what they really mean is exactly the same thing as above: what is it for? or why should I use it?

In my opinion, these two questions are exactly the same one:
what is it for?

It’s nerve wrecking how many people in today’s business and marketing world are obsessed with funky lingo instead of using simple and universally understandable language that not only conveys the right message but also keeps the conversation focused.

Yesterday I saw a start up entrepreneur presenting an emergency button system for smartphones to be used by elderly people to quickly call for help in emergency cases. Having explained his product with the above words, he was suddenly confronted with the question “who is the target group for your product”?
He eloquently maneuvered around the stupid question by giving an example of a not so obvious target group the product also attracts: snowboarders under 30. They obviously found that his product does serve their need to get help when having an injury on the slopes. He finished by saying that obviously his products target group is EVERYBODY!

But have you ever experienced the skeptic look of somebody whom you just told that your product is for everybody?

So please give us a all a break and simply ask us:
What is your product for?

And if you do not understand what it’s for, then you
– are simply not in the target group,
– may not understand the needs of the target group
– or you are just not the right one to invest into that company.

I am so sure about this because for each and every single product that somebody comes up with, there is always somebody who will use it (= the target group, at least the inventor himself). There is probably not one invention on earth that would not be used by at least one person.

The only legitimate question after “what is it for” is: is it’s target group big enough to make a profit by selling the product.

Is this Upskirt from Samsung?

Households in Berlin received a raunchy flyer today, showing a girls skirted back with the line “Have a Look”.
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Turning the flyer upside down, like lifting the skirt up, shows a Samsung phone covering the girls butt and promises that a test winner does not have to hide anything, asks you if you are a winner too and urges you to visit a website.
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But the website is not working! Scanning the code or entering the address produces a 403 forbidden.
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Is it even from Samsung? Was the content worse than the flyer and has been preemptively taken down? The domain is registered to a web design company in Munich. Maybe they just forgot to cover the samsung logo.

What and from who is this?

Top 20 Social Media Networks in Germany

Top 20 social media networks in Germany

Top 20 social media networks in Germany

Germany’s social network landscape has consolidated and by the end of 2013, Facebook has taken almost all the users from the VZ networks. But the next 25% are still dominated locally. Twitter is underrepresented. Xing is keeping LinkedIn at bay.

Read the details or a summary here: “Social Media in Germany”.

8 Uses for Drones in Marketing

  • PR
  • Shipping and Distribution
  • Travel Marketing
  • Multimedia
  • Promotions
  • Sweepstakes
  • Edutainment
  • Negative Ads

Public Relations

Amazon has shown how you can use news about the deployment of drones for company services can be used for marketing. The use of drones for Amazon Prime will certainly take some time until ready to offer, but the news was a worldwide sensation when announced before christmas 2013. The topic blends with the next:

Shipping and Distribution

A bunch of companies (Amazon and a number of delivery services and postal services) are developing and testing the use of drones for fast, local delivery systems. The promise: a prime service for the impatient consumer as well as for replacement parts for industries, who lose money as long as they have to wait for some screw for a broken machine.

Travel Marketing

A fast growing number of tourist and recreational facilities have found out about the coolness of arial views and videos. They show their facilities from above, so that their target group can have an impression how nice it is at the facility.

Multimedia

Whatever you do to show your product in a cool way, nothing beats the view from above and surrounding your product. You do not have to be in travel/recreation to apply drones for picture/film. Even small things like food, sports gear and toys can be filmed in a completely new way using a camera drone.

Promotions

People are still awed by seeing a little drone flying by and this can be used to attract attention at promotional events. Depending on the strength of your drone you can even do display advertising.

Sweepstakes

Just give your customers a drone. It’s not the new iPhone, but it comes close in coolness.

Edutainment

This blends with multimedia. There are so many products/services that need explanation. Pictures and film created using a drone can sometimes add a new option to do the explaining.

Negative Ads

Time for fun: SilencerCo is marketing its gun silencers with an ad movie where a guy shoots drones.

6 ways to use crowdsourcing for your pricing policy

There is a web app (like an app – but runs in the browser) that product marketers can use to run a price study for their product. The app is wowoodu and it’s users are playfully feeding a price database.
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How can you use wowoodu for your pricing?

  1. Pre-Awareness: test you product’s attractiveness before you put it on the broad market and get a feeling for the consumer’s price point for it.
  2. Evangelist-Effect: if your product hits a nerve with the consumer, you may build a group of early adopters and with social media sharing they may even reach evangelist status.
  3. Pre-Sales: while testing your product’s price with wowoodu, you can link to your e-commerce page and start selling.
  4. Viral Sales: the playful character of wowoodu leads to social media sharing, thus creating viral potential for your product.
  5. Price Correction: You will see that your pricing is either too high or to cheap. Actually, more than 50% of products could be priced a little higher. The effect of a consumer, gauging a price too high, with the actual price lower but not the cheapest either, is priceless!
  6. Advertising/Promotion: wowoodu offers retailers to publish discount coupons and advertising features.