Building A Business Around Someone Else’s Could Mean Disaster

I have had some really big ideas to build around WordPress. I had wireframes ready for them, had all business plans ready and more. However, when I went to an investor to get funding for it, I came back empty handed. The reason was because though my ideas were not innovative, but no one willing to put much money into it because of the fact that it relied on someone else’s business.

Business

This rejection thought me a big lesson in life and there were several things I learnt from the Investors who rejected my idea. One of the most important lessons I learnt was to never build a business based on someone else’s business. There are quite a few problems. I’ll quote some reasons below:

  • You rely on someone else’s business for your own business. This is the cardinal sin of creating a business in the first place.
  • When the business in question builds something you have built, your business is potentially killed rendering all your hard work and marketing useless.
  • There will be competitors who will try to do better (remember first is not always best in startups) and take off and your business may collapse.
  • The business you are building around could just collapse rendering all your hard work useless.
  • The business you built around could change their terms of use rendering all your hard work useless.

Well, these are just some of the lessons I learnt from a brilliant idea which collapsed like a pack of cards. The idea would work, it would have worked great in the short term, but in the end it would collapse because of the fact that I don’t really have control over how things would work out considering all the above problems I listed out.

Also Read: Is Twitter a Reliable Service to Build Your Business Around?

Of course there are success stories which are built upon these businesses, for example on we all came across Farmville at some point of time. The game was created by Zynga, a company which relied solely on Facebook for it’s income before diversifying and becoming a billion dollar company today. There are more examples like these which will lure you into building around someone else, but there are also 100 times more failures.

Quite recently,  asked developers to stop developing new apps to display Tweets because they wanted to control how tweets are displayed and how information is delivered to their users. This new change has caused quite a lot of hue and cry among the developer community, and for valid reasons.

However, the storm will die and developers will stop developing apps for Twitter, but what about people who already put in years of efforts into developing those great clients? Does everything go to waste? Would the folks behind have to shut shop? Well, most likely the popular clients will survive, but the smaller clients would eventually wind up. In the end, Twitter can block your service like they did recently with UberTwitter and twidroyd and render your app/business useless.

Of course, this does not mean that you should not use Twitter or Facebook as part of your business. However, it is better to limit the amount of functionality they bring to your business. Building your business solely around Twitter or Facebook or for that matter any other service would be disastrous in the long run and is definitely best avoided.

I am not a businessman per se, but I have seen enough in the past 10-12 years to really understand that it is always better to build something and then integrate other services as part of it, rather than building a service around something.

I would be more than interested in knowing your thoughts about this and would love to learn your experiences on developing apps and your feelings about Twitter’s recent move. The comments form are all yours.

Image Credit: Contractor Business Profits

Facebook Now Supports @ Tagging in Comments

has been supporting like @ tagging while writing new updates or wall posts. This helped users to mention their friend in their updates. However, annoyingly this feature was missing in their commenting system.

Facebook Comment Tagging

So if you wanted to reply to a specific person, you could not tag them. Instead, you would have to use @name to ensure that your comment was directed to the right person.

Tag People in Comments

A little while earlier, I was trying to explain @ tagging to someone when I saw that the @ tagging actually works in comments too. This is definitely good news, because users will not be able to directly mention people in their comments.

facebook_comment_tagged

Comment tagging works similarly to how the regular tagging works. You just have to type an @ followed by the person’s name or handle and a drop-down will be displayed to you. You can then choose which person or page you want to tag in the comment. When you have tagged someone in a comment they will receive a notification saying so.

Do you like the tagging feature in Facebook? Do you think that allowing people tagging in comments would be helpful? Do feel free to tell me about your thoughts.

Facebook Scam Alert: Look what happens when Father catches Daughter on Webcam!

A couple of days earlier, was hit with a massive Miley Cyrus Sick video Scam. Today I am seeing a new scam going viral where users are clicking on links and posting updates saying “Look what happens when Father catches Daughter on Webcam!”. This Facebook scam is similar to a previous one where an update was posted saying that a Girl Killed Herself After Dad Posted on Wall.

Facebook Girl Webcam Scam

Most of these scams play on the gullibility of users to click on links with cleverly framed text which entice. As always, my advice is to never click on such links at all, even if they are coming from your closest friend.

Facebook Scam Webcam Dad

As for this scam, clicking on the link takes you to a website where you a video is displayed with the message, “Please watch this video only if you are 16 years or older”. As a strong warning, I would ask you to not click on the play button as it will then automatically post a message on your wall and then ask you to fill out a survey through which they will make money.

Please feel free to share this message with your friends and family so that they don’t fall into clicking on the enticing messages.

Warning: Miley Cyrus Sick Video Scam on Facebook

After a week of lull, I came across a new Facebook scam which is spreading rapidly among users. The new scam posts an update or likes a web page on about a Miley Cyrus video.

Miley Cyrus Facebook Scam

The new Facebook scam is spreading by posting a link which is reportedly a video of Miley Cyrus with a message "SICK! I lost all respect for Miley Cyrus when I watched this video!" or "SICK! I lost all respect for Miley Cyrus when I watched this video! must above 18 to see this video)@ [link redacted]".

I am seeing about 40-50 people liking this site and link every minute. As usual, do not click on enticing links like these, please make sure to check out earlier Facebook Scams too to learn more about protecting yourself on Facebook.

Do feel free to share this post with your friends and family so that they are aware of it and do not click on the links. I’ll be updating this post shortly with more information about the scam.

Facebook To Offer Digital Movie Rentals

As if the competition for digital movie streaming service wasn’t fierce enough, Facebook is adding  itself  to the list of contenders to cater to your movie needs. The social giant today announced a partnership with Warner Bros that will allow the production house to offer digital movie rentals via Facebook to its 600 Million users.

The service starts with The Dark Knight which is being offered for $3 for a 48 hour rental. Or, you can get it for 30 Facebook credits, something which Facebook prefers as the medium of financial exchange on its network. More movies will be added soon along with the option to purchase them as opposed to simply renting them out. However, as always, the service is only available to users in the U.S. now. According to President of Warner Bros’ Digital Distribution :

Making our films available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts.   It gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our films through the world’s largest social network

Whether this would give Netflix a serious competition remains up for debate, but the fact that it will give a hard time to new players like Amazon and YouTube for streaming full length movies is a definite thing. With already 600 Million users actively using the network, Facebook has no need to spend any money on marketing or give incentives to potential users like Netflix and Amazon have to do.

Facebook Adds Real Time Analytics For Social Plugins

Companies and business who depend largely on Facebook audience have now a reason to rejoice.

The social networking site has just added another nifty feature in it’s Insights inventory real time analytics for Facebook social plugins. What this means is you can track visitor interaction, how Facebook users likethe content of your blog, how many impressions a particular social plugin generates and much more. Quite recently, Facebook developers introduced new features to the Likebutton and now this social analytics will put some icing on the cake.

One of the problems with Facebook social plugins is that website administrators have little control on what is displayed, yet along ignoring the fact that they do not have any way to judge or analyze how their content is performing on Facebook. Of course you can see how many of your Facebook friends shared a particular page, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

insights-likes

With real time analytics of Facebook social plugins in place, publishers can measure how their content is performing on Facebook, how much CTR the Like button is getting,how many people saw Likedstories from your website and how many of them clicked clicked the Liked storiesfrom Facebook to visit your website.

This is really useful data for web publishers who solely depend on social media and want some more deeper insights on how users are actually sharing the content within their social circle. If you’re using the Likebutton on your blog, you can test with different positions, measure the CTR and then take a decision whether the Like button goes above the fold or it is better placed at the bottom of the article.

If you are using Facebook’s comment box plugin on your own website, you would be able to find out how many people left comments, how many people saw comment replies of friends on their Facebook news feed and how many of them clicked that link to visit your website. This is of course critical data and goes one step beyond popular web analytics programs like Google Analytics, sitemeter and so on.

insights-comments

Example: You can’t track how many people clicked a comment response in their news feed and arrived on your site with Google Analytics. Since every Facebook account is behind a login, Google analytics will only report the number of users who arrived to your site from Facebook; you can’t segment the data any further. Facebook’s insights analytics lets you drill down the funnel path and filter more data how many impressions the comment box is generating, how much impressions comment stories are getting all these questions now have an answer.

In addition to analytics, Facebook insights will also provide demographic information for user interactions that occur on your site and on Facebook. This includes tailoring the traffic into age groups, measuring gender ratio, languages and the country, as evident from the following screenshot:

insights-demographics

Another neat feature wisely incorporated is Organic sharing useful for those publishers who haven’t yet integrated Facebook social plugins on their websites. First you will need to claim access and then you would be able to measure how many people are organically sharing content from your site on Facebook, in the form of status updates and wall posts.

Overall, real time analytics for social plugins looks quite impressive but don’t consider removing Google analytics from your site yet. You see, they measure traffic only from Facebook !

 

Rovio Announces Angry Birds for Facebook with New Gameplay

Zynga better watch out! After conquering the iOS App Store and Android Market (as well as Nokia’s Ovi Store and Palm’s App Catalog), Rovio has set its sights on Facebook.

Angry-Birds-Facebook

Rovio Mobile is being fairly tight-lipped about the game. “There will be completely new aspects to it that just haven’t been experienced in any other platform, teased Rovio’s CEO Mikael Hed. It will obviously tap into Facebook’s social features to broaden its appeal. In the past Zynga has very smartly encouraged users to invite their friends, and compete with them (directly or indirectly) to increase its viral factor. Rovio has also hinted that Angry Birds for Facebook will, for the first time, see the pigs in a much more prominent role.

Although Angry Birds is expected to land in Facebook soon, Rovio has confirmed that we won’t be seeing it before April.

Besides Angry Birds for Facebook, Rovio is working on numerous other Angry Birds related projects. A movie and its tie-up game are already under development. Angry Birds for PlayStation Network, Xbox 360 and Wii have also been confirmed. The much awaited sequel is also probably in the cards. Additionally, Rovio is keen to launch several Angry Birds spin-offs, including a racing and a sports game.

Peter Vesterbacka, the mighty eagle of Rovio, believes that, “Angry Bird will be bigger than Mickey Mouse and Super Mario”. With relentless updates, new ports and spin-offs, Rovio wants to broaden its appeal, while remaining fresh and relevant to its existing fan base. Will its strategy work? Or will we see Angry Birds losing its steam in the near future? Let us know what you think.

Facebook Launches New Comments Platform

Facebook has just unveiled its completely revamped Comments platform for blogs and other websites, in a move that will put it in direct competition with the likes of Disqus and IntenseDebate. You can go ahead and grab the script from the Facebook dev section.

Although there are quite a few 3rd-party comment management systems, Facebook has a few significant advantages. As you might guess, Facebook’s biggest advantage is its massive existing user base. The Facebook plugin features a unique two-way integration, which will encourage more comments while reducing spam. All comments published through the Facebook Comments Box will display the real name of the commenter. Furthermore, the comment will also be posted on the commenter’s profile, unless he manually chooses not to share his comment. These two factors should help in reducing the quantity of trolls by removing the veil of anonymity. Additionally, if you post a comment and your friend responds to that comment on Facebook, your friend’s response will also be visible on the 3rd-party website. Once again, this should make the webmasters happy by increasing user participation.

Facebook-Comments-Box

Some of the other handy features include automatic sorting of comments based on the number of likes, and crowd sourced spam moderation. There is also the possibility of integrating 3rd-party login providers. Currently, the only big name that Facebook has managed to get onboard is Yahoo. TechCrunch believes that Facebook also wanted to tie-up with Google and Twitter, but the deal fell through due to existing animosity among the involved parties.

Facebook-Comments-Box-Moderation-Options

On the whole, Facebook Comments Box is a compelling offering. The lack of anonymity might put off some commenters and also make it unsuitable for certain websites. However, a lot of webmasters, and a lot of users are going to love the social features offered by Facebook Comments. Right now, if I were Disqus, I would be scared shitless.

Facebook Brings More features to The “Like” Button

Facebook is all set to change the way users share content and links using the Likeand Sharebuttons. The sharing functionality of Facebook’s like button has been slightly overhauled which might trigger a retiring door for Facebook’s share button.

Before this update, the Likebutton was kind of a recommendation while the share button was Sharingin it’s true sense. Liking a webpage would post a mini update on your Facebook profile while sharing a webpage would bring additional details e.g thumbnails, excerpt, personal comments and so on.

The newer update rolled by Facebook changes how the Likedstory is shared on your Facebook profile or news feed. Unlike before, a thumbnail and excerpt is returned, an example is shown below:

facebook-share-like-button

The next major update is that now users can Likeupdates within a Facebook application. You can Likeand share content or updates from an application which your friend is using, hence expect some heavyweight Facebook liking cluttering up your News feed, Mr X likes your daily horoscopeand stuff like that.

Why Facebook’s Share Button Shouldn’t Retire

There is a major difference between Facebook’s share and like buttons. It’s personal commentary.

When you are sharing a webpage using the Sharebutton, you have the ability to add a personal note or comment to the update. Whether you hate the page, whether it’s funny, you can express it. But such is not the case with Facebook’s like button. The moment you hit Likeit’s dumped to your profile, no second chance at all.

like-vs-share

You can always post a comment to the Likedstory and express your views but this is kind of boring for two reasons. First, you have to open your Facebook profile and then comment on the Likedlink. Second, your close friends might get annoyed when you keep liking and commenting on the same link over and over again.

For Facebook, The Like Button Makes More Sense

But if you think from Facebook shoes, pushing the Likebutton makes perfect sense for two reasons.

First, content sharing is much more rapid, instantaneous and lucid. No popups or any other confirmation as such, all the user needs to do is hit the Likebutton on any website, blog, app and the page is shared instantly on his news feed.   Second, the Likebutton is much easier to implement and has a powerful branding attached to it. Hey I have 12K Likes on my Facebook page while you have only 4K, you get the idea.

Facebook Spokeswoman Malorie Lucich told Mashable that they will continue to support the Share button, Like is the recommended solution moving forward.

What’s your take on the newer features of Facebook’s Likebutton? Do you think it’s useful enough and worth ditching the share button from your website ?

Related: Check out Techie Buzz’s Facebook app

Screenshots of Facebook 2.0 for BlackBerry Leaked – Includes Chat Feature

BlackBerry-Facebook-2

BlackBerry is to finally receive a long awaited update to its Facebook app in May 2011.  Thanks to N4BB, we have some leaked screenshots of the updated version of the app.

From the screenshot we can see that Facebook 2.0 for BlackBerry will finally come with chat feature. Besides that, it has also received a new user interface through which users can view pages and get more info about their friends like friends list, etc..

As mentioned earlier, though the Facebook 2.0 for BlackBerry will be arriving only in May 2011, an early beta is to be released next month. We’ll keep you updated as to when the app will be released. Until then, if you haven’t tried the app yet, you can download it from BlackBerry app world for free.