Cheryl Wischhover, writing for Vox:
For those who know their skin care products, Sunday Riley is a beloved brand. Good Genes face acid is a best-seller at Sephora and frequently hailed as a holy grail product. But the company got some unwelcome scrutiny this week after a former employee shared an email directing employees to open fake accounts and leave glowing Sephora reviews of new Sunday Riley products, on the subreddit r/skincareaddiction. The post shocked customers and served to highlight the questionable trustworthiness of online product reviews at retailers like Sephora.
This should surprise no-one. The days when you could trust online reviews are all over. Jeff Bezos has been known to say that peer reviews were the driving force behind Amazon’s growth, and in the beginning, the reviews — and the overall averages — were likely a fairly good gauge of a product's quality. Today these reviews are often gamed, and many can’t be trusted. How does a no-name brand shower curtain gain thousands of reviews in a matter of months? They cheat that’s how. And when they cheat the reviews and their averages skew positive.
A couple weeks ago, my hair was out of control and I needed a cut. Nadia, my normal stylist was unavailable and foolish me, searches on Google and looked for a barber who could do an emergency cut. Most had mixed reviews. I read quite a few before settling on one seemed to have a better ratio than the rest. When I arrived I sat down. It was a small shop and you could hear everything. As the previous customer was paying the barber, who was very nice, asked them to go to Google and leave a review. At that moment knew I was in trouble. Thankfully I’ll be seeing Nadia Sunday.
Let’s face it, leaving a review is work. We are more likely to leave a review when we are pissed than when we are pleased. So you can pretty much rest assured when products or services that don’t inspire great customer loyalty get rave reviews — and sometimes even when they do — they worked hard to entice reviewers to leave them — be it through straightforward bribery, social pressure, the case of the barber or fear of losing one’s job, Sunday Riley.
Smart move but I can’t help but think that this — or similar — will soon be a feature of the native OS camera app on both iPhone and Android.
In a rare partnership for Amazon, the commerce giant will help Snapchat challenge Instagram and Pinterest for social shopping supremacy. Today Snapchat announced it’s slowly rolling out a new visual product search feature….
Users can use Snapchat’s camera to scan a physical object or barcode, which brings up a card showing that item and similar ones along with their title, price, thumbnail image, average review score and Prime availability.
It’s not surprising that Facebook had a lieutenant at the Kavanaugh hearing. Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Policy, a long-time friend of Kavanaugh was there showing support, and by association this conveys support from Facebook.
Facebook pushes legal boundaries and plays in areas that have not yet been settled by law. There’s a good chance that issues sensitive to their business interests will at some point come before the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh will remember this gesture of support and be predisposition to act favorably — even if just subconsciously.
Employee anger can be smoothed over. A negative Supreme Court decision can be devastating.
There are some really nifty graphs here but the conclusions are highly problematic and misleading.
Oliver Roeder, Dhrumil Mehta and Gus Wezerek for FiveThirtyEight:
If the replies stack up, outpacing the retweets and the likes, you may have a problem. Your tweet may be a bad tweet.
“The lengthier the conversation” sparked by a post, “the surer it is that someone royally messed up,” Luke O’Neil wrote recently in Esquire. “It’s a phenomenon known as The Ratio.”
The idea of the ratio of liked tweets, retweets and comments as a measure of whether a tweet is good or bad is overly simplistic. In fact, the idea of a tweet either being good or bad without understanding its intended outcome and measuring it against that outcome is plain silly.
They're many reasons why a tweet might get replied to with greater frequency than liked or retweeted.
One reason might be that the tweet was controversial and the intention was to create controversy. Another might be to get attention, or maybe distract attention away from something else. Perhaps a combination of these things. And any of these things may be a goal of the tweet and therefore — regardless of The Ratio — it wouldn't be bad in context of its intended outcome.
So what can we gather form this analysis? It certainly seems to tell us is that Trump is highly controversial — but we all knew that didn't we? Also, that Republicans more controversial than Democrats.
Or maybe it tells us that there's a high degree of discontent and those who disagree do so to such a great extent that they want to voice their opinions. Remember there's no dislike button on Twitter so when one dislikes something all they can do is comment.
Like the original focus groups were intended to determine what to research — not be the research — maybe this analysis can be used to point toward what we should be looking at.
Analyzing the ratio of positive to negative comments might yield some more insightful results but still the problem exists that commenters aren't necessarily representative samples of a general population. And AI driven sentiment analysis has great difficulty understanding sarcasm which would certainly be prevalent in these comments.
And even if this were valid and reliable analysis and could identify who the "worst tweeter's in politics are — who cares? Do we have more important thing to concentrate on.
I honestly have a hard time believing that FiveThirtyEight isn't aware of the problems I noted above. Seems to me that the reason for publishing this article is simply to sell more advertising even if the article itself misleads the public. This is a shame.
Technology, channel proliferation and fragmentation are breaking the traditional ad agency model. But this may not be bad news for those who work in advertising — though new skills and an entrepreneurial spirit may be required.
Alexandra Bruell for Advertising Age:
Historically, the business was straightforward. Marketers hired agencies to create 30-second spots, place them on TV and in magazines and create and send direct mail to addresses stored in massive databases. But clients' needs have changed.
They must manage marketing across devices and serve customized ads to specific audiences based on real-time analysis of constantly changing data. That data must inform creative, CRM and media buying strategies tied to new commerce and brand experiences. At the nexus of this confusing and continually evolving mashup of business operations and marketing are clients, who need a partner to help [...]
Jeff Schulz for Advertising Age:
Names are very much like real estate, and every company wants to find the perfect lot that's ripe for development. Apple was lucky to find an undeveloped parcel in "Retina." Now, no one else can own that name vis à vis display screens simply because of the way Apple filed the name with the USPTO -- just "Retina" and described, among other things, as "computer display screens." Due to this highly strategic approach, there will never be a "Microsoft Retina" screen. Or an "LG Retina" screen. The only "Retina" screen that will ever exist is from Apple.
Most people understand the importance of name in respect to an identity, but it's much more than that — it's a strategy.
Lauren Brousell for CIO.com:
Many leagues and teams push for more technology on both sides of the spectrum: for players and for the business. These organizations see clear potential in using technology to collect and analyze new statistics for competitive advantage on the field, and to engage fans and improve the customer experience at games and in their homes.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Accelerator program, an initiative in which startups apply to receive funding and support for their technology products, is the most prominent example of a sports organization leveraging startups.
Sports teams are media brands at the core and know how technology can help on and off the field. Partnering with startups is a great way for them to outsource innovation. But if they want sustainable competitive advantage they need to grow their own tech muscles.
Carmel Demicis, writing for Re/code:
For anyone following the ride-hailing company’s controversies with security issues, this latest revelation about unsavory drivers will perhaps come as no surprise. Throughout Uber’s short history, there have been several instances of drivers with undetected arrest or conviction records, who then allegedly groped, raped or assaulted passengers.
One issue: Uber is not legally mandated to do the gold standard of background checks: Live-scan fingerprinting. That is required of taxi drivers in California, as well as workers in other sensitive positions, such as nurses, teachers and paramedics.
Uber may not be required to run the "Gold Standard" of background checks but hiring killers, burglars and pedaphiles as drivers is not acceptable. Uber should modify their practices to ensure customer safety and let the world know how they are doing this.
I've wanted to like Uber but story after story of unsavory business practices pushes me away. It is not enough for a company to be provide an innovative product and be a market leader. They must also operate with integrity.
Is this latest fail a result of a simple error or indicative of a company culture so focused on profit that things like customer safety are neglected?
Unfortunately I suspect the later and this is a strategic weakness for Uber.
Company culture is one of the most challenging things to understand, direct and nurture and done well it is a huge strategic advantage. Done poorly and you create opportunities for competition.
[…] the company used to charge advertisers for any kind of ad engagement, including favorites and retweets. Over the past two quarters, Twitter has transitioned to a new pricing model, only charging advertisers for clicks that they want — like an app install or a website visit.
Because of that, Twitter is charging advertisers for fewer clicks and bringing in less money. The hope long term is that advertisers will find these ads to be more valuable (they’re no longer paying for “engagement” metrics) and spend more money with the company. That obviously hasn’t happened as quickly as Twitter had hoped.
Twitter engagement metrics for advertisers were a problem. People tend to view their streams as personally curated channels and can react negatively when they receive Twitter ads in their feed. This is especially true when they feel the Twitter ad is not relevant to them. And compounded when ad frequencies increase as advertisers get more aggressive with their campaigns. At times the advertiser was paying for engagement that contained negative sentiment toward the advertiser.
This change is meant to combat these issues and align the advertisers interests with those of Twitter.
It was obvious that something drastic needed to change at Yahoo. Love her or hate her, Marissa Mayer is bringing about that change.
Nicholas Carlson, writing for the Business Insider, gives us insight into who Marissa is and what this means to Yahoo.
Fascinating thoughts on complexity, people, and chaos.
Complex systems are, as their name implies, hard to understand. Social systems, like organizations consisting of people, are accordingly hard to understand because there is no linearity in the world of human beings. There are no arrows and people are not boxes, or fit inside of boxes. This is why our thinking needs to develop from the sciences of certainty to something more applicable, the sciences of uncertainty, the sciences of complexity.
Greg Mathews, writing at Medium:
When most of us design we do not think about what kind of social impact our product will have on the world.
Most of what is created is intended to do good. Still, many of our creations can be used for the not-good. This not-good use could come about intentionally or unintentionally. As socially responsible creators, innovators, entrepreneurs we have the opportunity to design our creations to maximize use that affects users — and the world — in positive ways, and prevents or redirects not-good use.
More than just Infographics. These are Experiencegraphics.
John Seeley Brown, writing for HBR on corporate change and innovation:
Corporations, for the most part, aren't going to reinvent themselves by improving on the core competencies they've been honing for years. Instead, if they're going to change, they're going to do so from the outside in, allowing ideas from the edge of the company to penetrate to the core. Social media will be a part of that transformation.
The examples in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. The ability to extract actionable insight from giant data sets will be a huge competitive advantage and enable companies to innovate at remarkable rates and deliver increasingly exceptional customer experiences and value.
Elliot Jay Stocks on what responsive web design is — and is not.
Mobile was a useful term when it was new and niche. You could use it in a conversation to narrow things down. Now it's so broad it's fast becoming meaningless.
I've long argued the same for the term "social media". Catchall terms breed ambiguity and lead to misunderstanding and poor execution. As a discipline matures, the language used to articulate its concepts must mature as well. It is time. We need to define and use more extensive vocabularies for "mobile" and "social media". Stay tuned.
Creative geniuses tend to be less the ones with the quickest answers and more the ones who keep working till they get it right.
What can make the game of IT so challenging is finding the right balance between strategic and tactical investments. CIOs must decide on the best mix of initiatives that hold both compelling long-term ROI potential, as well as, those that provide tactical service improvements for supporting existing demands. In the real world, budget pressures often have a way of pre-determining this balance to the tactical extreme.
While IT is hit particularly hard by this problem, it affects many functional areas of the enterprise. When tactics win over strategy you run the risk of blazing a path into the forest only to discover you are lost.
A question that inevitably comes up very early in the process of designing a new app is this: should the interface refer to the user as “your” or “my” when talking about the user’s stuff, like in “my profile” or “your settings”? For a long time, this question ate at my soul. Which is right?
Interesting thoughts about the relationship the user has with the user interface.
As a rule, stay away from both "my" and "your" in navigational elements — this is often implied — and use "your" when the interface communicates with the user but only if needed for clarity.
Harold L. Sirkin, writing for Businessweek:
Many people — including a lot of senior executives I’ve talked to — think innovation is primarily a research and development function. But innovation should be understood to include the entire value chain: from R&D to engineering, manufacturing, distribution, sales, marketing, and even facility utilization and investment strategy.
An innovative product rarely leads to sustainable competitive advantage. By contrast, a culture of innovation is a sustainable competitive advantage.
Whitney Johnson, writing for Harvard Business Review:
Fewer resources produce proximity; proximity drives innovation. [...] Proximity can lead to friction, and friction can rub people raw. But it can also light a fire, one that warms and binds us into a family.
Or a high-functioning collaborative team.
Emily Maltby and Shira Ovide, writing for the Wall Street Journal. Reporting on findings from WSJ and Vistage International survey:
Just 3% of 835 business owners surveyed […] said Twitter had the most potential to help their companies.
LinkedIn […] topped the survey, with 41% of respondents singling it out as potentially beneficial to their company. Sixteen percent picked YouTube […] and 14% chose […] Facebook.
And summarizing the feelings of "many" small business owners:
Many owners […] tend to think the "value" of social media comes primarily from measurable factors, such as pageviews, click-throughs or direct sales.
Not surprising. It is easy to understand and optimize for things that are easily quantified. These are often important indicators of near-term health. But it is equally important to keep a sharp focus on your brand and evaluate how short term efforts may affect long term potential — not so easily measured.
Daniel Pink, writing for the Washington Post on why ambiverts make the best salespeople and leaders:
The conventional view that extroverts make the finest salespeople is so accepted that we’ve overlooked one teensy flaw: There’s almost no evidence it’s actually true.
Harry McCracken, writing for Time:
App.net’s other big idea is that it relies on its users, rather than advertisers, to pay the bills.
App.net charges a monthly fee to its users. This makes it akin to a country club — if you can afford to pay you can play — and breaks the core principle of equal access to all that other social media platforms embrace.
Joseph Perello, writing for Ad Age:
If you want to be an expert in something useful and lasting, it should be in two areas: 1) finding undiscovered insights and 2) testing theories at a tiny cost, without sinking the ship. And once they're proven, start growing them with amazing speed, adapting and adjusting constantly along the way.
Joe's main premise is spot on: Expertise is a balance between accumulated insights and the ability to discover new insights and apply them in a fast changing environment to achieve specific objectives.
Hacker culture is a gift culture. Gift cultures revolve about common pool resources that are created and maintained by communities. Participants engage socially with one another by pooling gifts into the commons. The greater and more valuable their gifts, the more prestige they amass in the eyes of their community, and the more social capital they earn that they can draw on down the track.
There is room for debate here. Still, the idea of social media as a gift culture — like hacker culture is a gift culture — is intriguing and offers a perspective that helps us to better understand, participate in, and draw value from social media.
The market isn't finding immediate promise with Facebook Graph Search. Surprising? Not to me.
Peter Kafka, writing for All Things D:
[the market] wanted to see more from Facebook, it thinks Google is just fine and it’s not worried about LinkedIn. But it thinks Yelp could see real competition from Mark Zuckerberg and company.
Using search to discover friend recommendations just doesn't feel like a big deal.
Nate Elliot, in Jennifer Van Grove article for CNET:
"For them to call this big news feels like a bad joke ... They're taking an unacceptably bad part of the service and making it usable."
We tend to get our social cues from what our friends do in real life. What we learn becomes part of our awareness and influences our buying decisions. We typically know the restaurants where we live and look for recommendations when traveling. And then don't we want to get recommendations from locals? For electronics, do we look to our friends or professional review sites like engaget, gdgt, headfi?