Games Microsoft Social Media Xbox

Xbox Achievements are wildly successful


So says an article today on GameDaily
It’s kind of funny how people can succumb to something as simple as points and collecting. I feel pressure to beat my friend Charlie on Xbox Live despite the fact that he is a more avid gamer than I am. While I haven’t gone as far as getting the Japanese version of games like the article described (hmmmmm…..), I have rented games like John Madden Football due to their extremely easy to get achievement points, even though I don’t like sports related games.

The point is that the meta-game of Xbox Achievement Points in some ways is more interesting than the real game.

Why do people do this?

Gears of War developer describes the fanaticism:

“It’s nerd cred, man!” says Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer at Raleigh, North Carolina-based Epic Games, whose tactical third-person shooter Gears Of War is one of the hottest Xbox 360 titles around. He was skeptical when Microsoft first informed developers that they would need to participate in the program, but no longer.

“It’s so clever,” he says. “I mean, it’s just a score. You may say it can’t be used for anything, but gamers use them for pride. They’re pride points! You can compare it to the feeling you get when you pull up to a restaurant in a Lamborghini. People go, ‘Oooo, he must be somebody.’ In the virtual world of gaming, points create that same sense of rank and envy, and that’s why gamers have latched onto them. I read that people are picking up the Burger King Xbox games just so they can score additional points. If that doesn’t prove how well this program is working, nothing does.”

The first hit is free

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the gaming mechanism of collecting is very powerful. If given a choice between playing a game on the Wii and playing on the 360, I’d always choose the 360. Sure, the graphics are better on the 360, but it’s the points, man, the points. Gotta… beat… CharlieI’m never gonna beat Darren, though, he’s more obsessed than I am.

I’m an addict and apparently, I’m not alone.


Geek Fun Google Site News Social Media Social Media Marketing

How much for a Google ad?

Given Ziki’s marketing gimmick, I’m curious just how cheap it is to buy an ad for my name on Yahoo! or Google. I’ve never used either AdWords or Yahoo! Marketing Solutions personally, so it will be a fun way to see if I get any clickers. No fair clicking on my ad if you are reading this, but feel free to click on the Ziki one ;-)

I’ll let you know how it turns out in the next few days.

Building Community Social Media Social Media Marketing

Ziki – free advertising for bloggers

ziki logo.jpgOr anyone who has ever used a social network or a service with feeds…

I love the idea of aggregating all my social network data and social media contributions into a single place, but they have made a somewhat kludgy effort at doing so. I certainly did a bit more clicking than necessary. Here’s my page.

Building Community

To attract people in an already crowded space, they are promoting their first 10,000 users by buying ads on Google, MSN, and Yahoo!. Marketing members’ content appeals to their egos and in turn gets more users to the site through the ad spend.

I’m imagining that buying name based keywords is relatively inexpensive with few people actually clicking. Arguably, this is the best, if not least expensive, way for a growing social media site to spend money in text advertising.

Bottom Line

Ziki is definitely an interesting concept but it seems like I’d just want all of this stuff aggregated on my own blog. If they master the art of publicity for their members, it certainly would be a valuable service for those looking for an audience.

[via Paul Stamatiou]

Building Community Social Media

Slashdot Firehose (or Digg vs round 2)

Looks like Slashdot is doing something about getting their ass handed to them from Digg. Now, according to our pals with dubious numbers at Alexa, Digg has well surpassed Slashdot in terms of reach, rank and pageviews. This isn’t news. Even if Digg had not expanded beyond its tech crowd, Digg was growing at a rate that outclassed Slashdot in every way.

Slashdot Firehose

Slashdot has launched a editorial voting system called Firehose to “allow users to assist the Slashdot editors in the story selection process.” It’s a straight up copy of Digg, but Slashdot is not giving up ultimate editorial control of their home page.

slashdot firehose.jpg

I haven’t seen it before, so I can only guess that it just launched and it seems to only be launched to logged in users.

slashdot firehose3.jpg

Somehow, I don’t think that this will get new users on Slashdot, but allowing users to vote on stories certainly will make editorial decisions a little easier.


Marketing Social Media Marketing

Zillow – Make Me Move

Zillow unveils its latest feature tonight, Make Me Move.

The idea is pretty simple, set a price that you would be willing to sell your house for and wait for the offers to come in. Ok, this is a bit gimmicky, but fun nevertheless.

zillow make me move.jpg

Of course, this is a pretty good way to get people to give Zillow a little more info about your home.


But at least I can finally move my house down the hill where it belongs.


Moving is a pain in the butt, but we all have our price.

TechCrunch has more on Z’s other new features, the Real Estate Wiki and free listings for agents and sellers.

Social Media Social Media Marketing

How to rig Digg

logo digg.jpgCNET reports this morning about how internet marketers are “planting stories, paying people to promote items, and otherwise trying to manipulate rankings on Digg and other so-called social media sites like Reddit and Delicious to drum up more links to their Web sites and thus more business.”

Thanks for giving away all my secrets, CNET.

Seriously, though, there are certainly good ways and bad ways to use social media to market goods and services. This CNET article goes over the bad ways.

Building Community Social Media Social Media Marketing

Social Media Club – Seattle Meetup – Wednesday, December 6, 2006

logo_smc.gifChris Heuer and Kristie Wells are coming to town! In the last several months, I’ve gotten to know these guys fairly well and enjoyed our “big picture” discussions of the web and social media in particular.

Here’s a blurb from their site that best describes Social Media Club.

Social Media Club is being organized for the purpose of sharing best practices, establishing ethics and standards, and promoting media literacy around the emerging area of Social Media. This is the beginning of a global conversation about building an organization and community where diverse groups of people who care about social media can come together to discover, connect, share, and learn.

As someone who has been working in social media for a while, I’m planning on attending. Hope to see you there.

Date – Wednesday, December 6
Time – 6:30-8:00 pm
LocationYoungstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle

Social Media Club
Details on

Features Games Social Media

My Jellyfish addiction

jellyfish log.jpg

So, I’ve thought a lot about how gaming mechanisms can make sites more fun to use and my friends at have made a very addictive experience.

Jellyfish is yet another comparison shopping site, like, Epinions, NexTag, Yahoo! Shopping, Froogle, yadda, yadda, but they have a few twists up their sleeve. First, they incorporate cash back on most, if not all purchases made through the site. While most of the time, these are small percentages, they do add up.

smack shopping.jpg

The far more interesting feature, however, is Smack Shopping. Essentially, Smack Shopping is Woot! meets reverse eBay. Every day at 11 am EST, Smack Shopping offers up a limited quantity of a product, like an iPod or Zune. As time progresses, the price of the product decreases until they sell out.

Prisoner’s Dilemma

Naturally, some products sell more quickly than others, but so far many products have sold for almost 1/2 off their retail price. So, why don’t people wait longer for the value to go to zero? Theoretically, users could wait it out and get products for free. Fortunately for Jellyfish, most products have a value to people that is a lot higher than zero.

This is classic prisoner’s dilemma, which Wikipedia defines as “a type of non-zero-sum game in which two players can “cooperate” with or “defect” (i.e. betray) the other player.” This is frequently used by policeman to get one criminal to rat out their partner. If no one says anything, both prisoners could walk free. If they both talk, they both go to prison. In Jellyfish’s case, there are more players than products, so it certainly takes advantage of people’s inherent self interest.

The first hit is free

Ultimately, as a bargain shopper, I’m completely addicted. In theory, the more people that go to the site, the less likely products will be heavily discounted. So get out there folks and do your holiday shopping Smack-style :-).

Make my addiction go away.


Digital Cameras Links Social Media

Social Media Links for Tuesday, November 21, 2006

wetpaint logo.jpgIt’s a Wiki, but Pretty
Wetpaint lands a deal American Express to help power their Executive Travel SkyGuide. The article sites Wetpaint’s leadership in the areas of ease of use and its general lack of ugliness.

Flickr’s Camera Finder
Looking for the perfect camera this holiday season? Let the wisdom of crowds decide for you! Instead of reading reviews, Flickr has exposed the most popular cameras being used by Flickrites. Being a bit of a gadget nerd, I’ve often wondered why Flickr had not created this before.

Yahoo! acquired Bix
Ok, this is a little old, but Yahoo! has added the contest creation site, Bix to their stable of social media properties. This is a fun site that should fit in well with the rest of Yahoo’s social media acquisitions.

Building Community Social Media

Askville invitations for the taking


I’m planning on having a post up later today with my first take on Amazon’s new service, Askville, but if you would like a preview of the service, I’ve got several invites for the taking. Email me at randy at if you want one.

Features Social Media

Boxbe – make spammers pay

Spam. This is the cost of doing business on the internet, right? Free and easy communication with friends, co-workers, partners, etc, but the cost of this ease is that it is easy (and close to free) for anyone to send you email.

I dunno about you, but I got better stuff to do than spend my time cleaning out my inbox. Yahoo! and Google seem to do a decent job of removing spam before I get it (I’m not sure that .Mac has any filtering at all). Apple Mail does a good job of removing what Google and Yahoo! don’t. But on occasion, a friend asks me why I didn’t respond to them and I discover that my spam filtering has been a bit over zealous.

boxbe email.jpg

Enter Boxbe, a new warrior in the battle on spam. Boxbe’s premise is that your time is worth money and you can set how much that time is worth. Boxbe gives you a free forwarding email address that you can post anywhere on the net. It stops spam dead because if the sender isn’t in your address book, they don’t get to email you.

That is, unless they pay.

And there is the beauty, my friends. How much is worth to you to be spammed? Personally, my inbox is worth about $2.00. If you want to spam me, I’ll take your $2.00. If you send me relevant stuff, like a sale on hard drives, maybe I won’t take your money.

In any case, the service went public yesterday. No beta, no Web 2.0 tom-foolery, just up and running. I signed up for the service today and will let you know how well it works later this week.

Oh yeah, spammers, come and get it:

Liz Gannes on GigaOm is reporting on Boxbe

[In the interest of full disclosure, one of the founders, Thede Loder, is an old friend of mine from a million years ago. We’ve talked about this service a lot and I hope it is everything he has spent so much time working on. He hasn’t paid me to talk about the service, I just really believe in what he is doing.]

Building Community Conferences Social Media

Web 2.0 and Web 2.2


Alas, I’m stuck in the rain in Seattle this week, but hope everyone is doing well at the Web 2.0 conference and better yet, the Web 2.2 unconference.

So you’ve heard of the Web 2.0 conference, the one that O’Reilly and John Battelle have put on for the last several years, but not Web 2.2?

Web 2.2 is an alternative to the relatively pricey and invite only Web 2.0 conference and is focused on the people that put these sites together. Chris Heuer lays out the mission in his Social Media Club post here.

  1. Social Media will become more of a business, but will retain the power from its personal passion, unlike new media in the big dotcom boom
  2. More individuals will band together in networks small and large, changing the very notion of freelancing and employment
  3. The corporation will be forever changed, traditional media will adapt before dying completely and all companies will become media companies thereby shrinking the advertising pie
  4. Ultimately, Social Media will be a primary catalyst in saving the world…or bringing about our demise

Now, Chris is more an idealist than I am, but given that prognostication, Web 2.2 should attract a good crowd with interesting discussions.

Register for the conference

Google Social Media

Google acquired wiki company, Jotspot

logo.gifThe Google acquisition train keeps on rolling.

Jotspot, the wiki company announced today that they are being acquired by Google. Terms of the deal are undisclosed but I suspect that this might have cost less than YouTube.

Jotspot is a wiki maker that has taken the wiki (user created website) model and extended it into user created applications such as spreadsheets, calendars and photo galleries. They’ve also made them easier to use in the process. I tested Jot back at Epinions and loved their toolset, but they wanted to host the data exclusively, which is a tough sell for most corporations.

Some good news and bad news with the acquisition. First, if you are an existing user, your account will be free. New users, on the other hand, will have to wait until integration into Google’s infrastructure is complete. This misses a golden opportunity of using this publicity to obtain new users, but ensures that the service isn’t crushed under the weight.

Congrats to the Jotspot on the acquisition, you’ve got a great product and by making your product free, more people will use it. The wiki model really is wonderful and making it easier to use will bring wikis to more people.

Here is the announcement on Google’s Blog. Get more info at Jotspot’s FAQ and blog. More commentary at Get a New Browser and SEW and TechCrunch.

If you want to learn more about the company or wikis in general, Scoble recently interviewed Joe Kraus, CEO of Jotspot, on his PodTech show.

[Full disclosure: I’m currently consulting with another wiki company, Wetpaint]

Conferences Social Media

The Scobles’ 10 tips for a killer blog

At the Blog Business Summit this morning, Robert and Maryam Scoble give their 10 tips to a killer blog.

picture by respulveda

robert and maryam

  1. Blog cause you want to.
  2. Read other blogs. “This will make you an authority on the marketplace”
  3. Pick a niche you can own. Maryam – “Two types of bloggers some make things, break things, shake things up… others just want to talk to their friends.” Robert – “It’s a Google world”
  4. Link to other blogs.
  5. Admit mistakes.
  6. Write good headlines. “moving from subscribing to A listers to subscribing to Technorati link feeds.”
  7. Use other media. “blogging might be hard to be an A lister, but their may be no podcast” “use pictures”
  8. Have a voice.
  9. Get outside the blogosphere. “getting out and meeting people is important.
  10. Market yourself. Maryam – “oh, so its the business cards, not that you are happy to see me?”
  11. Write well. “use inverted pyramid, check grammar and spelling”
  12. Expose yourself.
  13. Help other people blog.
  14. Engage with commenters. “gets people to look at your blog”
  15. Keep your integrity

Ok, it’s more than 10, but it’s Scoble, so what are you gonna do?

[Dustin from Rain City Guide just posted his thoughts on the Scoble’s presentation]

Social Media

Social media as a Hollywood training camp?

Robert Young on GigaOm this morning mixes many metaphors in his discussion of the social media, but on that resonated with me is the how many social media startups are trying to create “farm team” for Hollywood.

(The metaphor, btw, is alluding to how major league baseball teams have regional baseball teams that they either train or retire talent).

From a scouting and recruiting standpoint, creating this farm team makes a lot of sense. Networks like YouTube or even MySpace could cut some of the time and money that it takes to “discover” new talent, one of the more onerous tasks in Hollywood.

The essence of Robert’s article though, is the similarity that the vast number of new social media startups have to one another, thus ensuring a lot of losers and few very few winners


Links Social Media

Links for Thursday, October 26, 2006

Today is launch day!

Vox Launches
Six Apart’s “blogging for the rest of us” product launched today. [via MicroPersuasion]

Zillow opens API
Wanna put home valuations on your site? Looks like Zillow opened up their API to Joe User (or at least Joe User that knows what to do with APIs). Developers, start your mashups!

(One complaint, tho. I know that Safari is a backwater browser and all, but at least lemme see the frickin’ API page in it. There is no technical reason why you’ve locked Safari users out.)