Showing posts with label web 2.0. Show all posts
Showing posts with label web 2.0. Show all posts

Shouldn't We All Be on

Online dating used to carry a pretty significant stigma. Of course, so did sleeping with someone before marriage. Needless to say, our dating culture has changed, and so have the resources we use to do it. I think we all have a tendency to associate online relationships with perversion and Dateline documentaries. But given the depth and variety of our current web interactions, it seems illogical that a site like isn't yet a gen-y staple. Let me explain.

The average 20-something has a username on dozens of different sites - from ebay to Even further, a good number of those sites are social networks, designed to link millions of users together for various reasons. There's a social network for everything:

Facebook/Myspace: peer-driven social networking

Linkedin: professional networking

Twitter: real-time info and idea sharing

Blogger/Wordpress: blogging

AIM/G-Chat: instant messenging

Youtube: user-generated video

Yahoo/ESPN: fantasy sports

And these are just the major networks - other niche sites like Current (user-ranked media), Mashable (online media), DeviantArt (art), and even My.BarackObama are loaded with gen-y users who are at risk of exploding they're so goddamn connected.

Now let's take it one step further. Social networks are founded on the idea that users want to share a little piece of themselves (or a huge, awkward piece) with the world. Across sites, it's true that the info, ideas, and media we share are all carefully chosen to reflect who we are. We upload our funniest videos and remove unflattering pictures. We wall-post some messages and privately send others. We let some users see our info, and block it from others.

Every social network broadcasts a certain piece of who we are - or think we are. The only difference is who's listening.

Facebook shows our social side, even when we're consumed with work.
Twitter shows our ideas and media tastes even when we don't tweet for days.
AIM and G-Chat show away messages even when we're long-gone.
Linkedin shows our professional profile, even when we're not job-hunting.

Shouldn't show our relationship preferences...even when we're not looking?

The fact is, flirting, courting, and relationships are a huge part of the 20-something lifestyle. Most of us spend a lot more time courting a significant other than we do job-hunting. Doesn't it make sense to create a profile that shows your softer, more romantic side? If everybody had online dating profiles, it help prevent the awkward combination of chatting and flirting that haunts facebook. Instead of initiating a creepy facebook poke, suitors could wink through - a network designed for courting.

Already in a relationship? No problem, why not declare it through and show off all the commonalities you share with your significant other. Do you two only share 6 levels of compatibility? Uh oh, your friends will be the first to tell you that the relationship isn't going anywhere.

Status Updates:

Exploring? Click a green dot beside your profile name.
Not really looking? put a yellow one.
Taken? Add a red dot (and the person's name if you'd like).

These features don't yet exist, but it doesn't mean they shouldn't.

Whether we like it or not, online social networks reveal massive amounts of info about relationships, hook-ups, and break-ups. And, as these communities continue to grow in popularity (and features), we're becoming more and more comfortable sharing personal details. But facebook isn't the place to flirt and court - you can only learn so much about a person from their wall.

We have online profiles for so many different parts of our lives - social, academic, professional, creative. But on top of jobs and social lives, we're also hoping to one day meet that special person - so doesn't it make sense to join a dating network too?

Great idea? Terrible idea? Already a member? Let me know.

Hit Me.

Spammers are Marketers Too...Right?

Internet spammers are, if anything, very very persistent. And while it's obviously not the same three or four masterminds sending every "chEEp V!@gRa!" email out there, the sheer volume of spam speaks to its popularity and, apparently, success.

It's kinda like those warning labels on appliances [please take off clothes before ironing]. The concept seems ridiculous to most of us...but they obviously exist for a reason.

japanese warning

It seems ridiculous, but obviously someone's getting paid from spam.

The Economics of Spam

According to a BBC News article, a recent spam study showed a conversion rate of only 0.00001%. That's an average of one online pharmacy sale in every 12.5 million emails - or in this case, 28 sales out of 350 million emails. The scary thing is, with bots automatically multiplying and distributing these messages, all spammers have to do is wait and cash in. The study estimated that the most sophisticated spam networks are generating over $2 million annually. And while that number seems mind-blowing, it's important to keep in mind the size and scope of these operations - not the mention the time they've had to evolve.

The Evolution of Spam

I actually got the idea for this post after reading a surprisingly emotional and manipulative message in my gmail spambox. Click the screenshot below to check it out - it's a definite must read.

gmail spam message

Traditionally, spammers aren't known for their grammar, spelling, or precision with the written word. But after years of practice, it seems that someone in upper-management has sent a memo stressing the importance such skills. And frankly, as any good marketer would expect, a little time, testing, and practice has led to better campaigns. Of course, I can't speak to the conversion rates, just the quality of the message itself. If you're too lazy to actually click the thumbnail above (disgraceful), I'll summarize what I believe to be the key details of this message.

Sender: Simon Taylor, 65-year-old British-native living in Dubai

Important details:

1) Wife and two children died in a car accident six years ago
2) Used to be a workaholic until losing his family put his life into perspective
3) Currently undergoing treatment for Oesophageal Cancer
4) Has lost his ability to talk
5) Only has a few months left to live

Reason for email: Needs help distributing $5 million among charities

How he earned money: Owned two businesses in Dubai

Before getting sick: "I have been helping orphans in orphanage/ motherless homes. I have donated some money to orphans in Sudan, South Africa, Cameroon, Brazil, Spain, Austria, Germany and some Asian countries."

Why he needs ME: "Because relatives and friends have plundered so much of my wealth since my illness, I cannot live with the agony of entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them."

What's in it for me?: "I'm willing to offer you a reward If you are willing to help please reply as soon as you can. May the good Lord bless you and your family."

Number of religious allusions: 5

Now, the grammar and spelling may not be perfect, but what Simon lacks in formal education, he makes up for in tragic emotional appeal. Simon is the King Lear of Dubai and wants nothing more than to donate his hard earned cash to charities across the world. And without my help, his relatives may squander the rest of his wealth. How can you say no to that?

simon taylor and fam

Honestly, I think the only thing missing is a picture of him and his family at the indoor ski slope Ski Dubai. But, give it time - Simon, like any marketer, is improving with practice. Best of luck, my man.

Hit Me.