Incentivizing Sharing

As we all know, sharing is at the center of how we discover new and interesting things.  Our friends say “Hey, you need to check this out.”  Because you trust that person,  you check it out.

Here at Clearspring, we’re always looking at new ways that we can help to speed up the process of sharing, viral spread, and discovery of new content.  This includes finding ways to incentivize sharing.

Well, one way this had worked really well is through contests.   Because Clearspring has a really rad analytics platform, we can track when and how a widget gets shared around the Web.  If you can bind a widget installation to a person, you can tell which users are driving the most shares.

Then… just give a prize to whomever drives the most shares of a widget and you’ve got a recipe for something that has the potential to go crazy viral.

This is exactly what was done for the widget for Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction’s NIN|JA tour widget.  Register on the widget, share it with your friends, and you could win tickets to see them along with a bunch of other prizes.

[clearspring_widget title=”NINJA 2009 Tour Widget and Contest” wid=”49bf3f176d7d6417″ pid=”49d1158aa7b160f3″ width=”400″ height=”500″ domain=””]

Merlin Mann and John Gruber on Being Awesome on the Internet

Well, I just found another panel at SXSW that I should have been at but some how missed.  Merlin Mann of 43 Folders and John Gruber of Daring Fireball led a panel entitled “149 Surprising Ways to Turbocharge Your Blog With Credibility!”  (Click on the link and listen to the audio.)

The panel is  about if you’re going to do something on the Web that you should do something that you love… do something that you’re obsessed with.  Don’t just do it because someone else did it and was successful at it.   They panel also talked about things like measuring success.  The content is SOLID.

I have a lot of respect for both of these guys.  They’ve both been successful at what they do and yet they don’t give you any bull… they don’t sugar coat what the world looks like.  They could give the 12 steps to being a blogger that makes money but that’s not them. They shoot from the hip about their experiences, despite the fact that what they’re saying may defy some of the conventional wisdom that you may read in a lot of the stock and trade blogs.

I think their session audio is a must listen for any one who’s trying to make stuff on the Web.

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Zappos’s Tony Hsieh on Company Culture & Customer Service

This morning I was walking around Capitol Hill listening to the opening keynote that Zappos’s CEO Tony Hseih gave at SXSW on company culture and good customer service.  I think this is a must listen to.  Like, listen to this right now.

If you’re in a position of leadership, it’s important because you’re going to walk away with some solid nuggets about how to run your business.  If you’re an employee, it will give you some things to look for when you decide where you want to work.

I feel incredibly blessed.  I believe that our leadership team at Clearspring, especially our CEO Hooman Radfar, really gets what Tony is talking about in this keynote.  I feel like we have a great company culture, where folks are excited to go to work everyday.  We also put a high premium on quality customer service.

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The New TweetDeck Let’s Me Use Facebook Without Being on Facebook

It’s true.  I’m kind of in love with TweetDeck.  It’s a Twitter client that lets me see everything that’s going on in my world with all of my friends.

Well they just did something which took the usefulness of the product to a whole new level.  They integrated Facebook statuses, to which I can dedicate a whole column of my TweetDeck. It’s pretty AWESOME.

I wish Facebook would let TweetDeck pull down more then just the status updates because then I could really abandon going to but this is good for now.

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News Readership Increases on Mobile Phones

I thought this was pretty fascinating.  TechCrunch has a story on some new comScore numbers around Mobile Web usage.

The number of people who access news and information daily on their mobile phones doubled from 10.8 million in January, 2008 to 22.4 million in January, 2009.

With the news industry reaching for any ray of sunshine that it can, it’s interesting that one of the biggest growth areas is the mobile phones.  It shows that people like to be able to consume news when they’re on the go.  It also shows the importance of allowing users to consume content where they want it.

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Fandango Launches an iPhone App

Fandango has launched an iPhone app. You could definitely see this coming. The part that I’m the most excited about is that you can by movie tickets right from your phone. The bummer is that they don’t integrate with your existing Fandango account. You have to enter your credit card number right into the phone.

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Why Are There New Web Apps Not Using OpenID or Facebook Connect?

I’ve been playing with a couple of new Web apps recently and much to my surprise, none of them offered OpenID or Facebook Connect as an option for signing in or creating an account. They all required me to setup a new username/password, enter all my information in, and setup a whole new set of friends.

Haven’t we talked about this issue enough? Can’t we all agree that in 2009 there is some level of expectation that new Web apps are going to offer up some type of single sign on solution?

This all got me thinking… I think there are a number of different expectations that we have for new Web apps in 2009 but I’ll save that for another blog post.

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So… Where’s the innovation?

This morning I was thinking about how recently I’ve been having trouble finding things to write about, in my blog. I’m glad I’m not a professional writer because I can imagine sometimes you’re forced to write about the stupidest stuff just so you have something to write about.

I read just about every popular technology blog that I can get my hands on. I have to say that in the last 3-4 months I don’t feel like I’ve seen anything that’s been that innovative. There hasn’t been that much which has just blown me away.

When is the last time we had a new game changing technology?

Who’s going to be the next company which is going to come up with something that’s going to light a new spark in people? You saw that spark when the Apple iPhone and Facebook Platform opened for development by third parties.

But what’s next? Single sign on with Facebook Connect, the latest Twitter app, and the thirty sixth texas hold-em game or location based social network for the iPhone can only be so interesting.

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Find me on Tumblr and Yelp

So, there are now two more social networks that you can find me on. I’ve been playing around with Yelp and Tumblr (both links to my profiles).

I’ve really been impressed with Yelp and the extent that they’ve been able to create an ecosystem where they can influence which restaurants and services that patrons go to. That’s pretty awesome. It puts the power in the hands of the consumer and forces the establishment to step up their game.

Tumblr also fascinates me. I know a lot of folks that use it as their full on blog. For me, its just a place to dump the random/interesting things that I find on the Web. Sometimes these are articles that I may want to blog about later and sometimes not. Tumblr just put out a iPhone app so I want to have some fun with that and document more of the randomness that is my life.

So yeah… do you guys use Yelp or Tumblr? Any new cool social networky type Web apps that I should be paying attention to?

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