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  • Big Questions from #SIC2011 - The Seattle Interactive Conference

    1:53 pm on November 11, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: Good Housekeeping, John SanGiovanni, Motor Trend, MSNBC, Popular Science, Seattle Interactive Conference, The Week, Zumobi

    In my first post on the Seattle Interactive Conference, I went over some locally developed tools designed to make information more relevant and insightful. Mobile apps like Trover, which allows geo-discovery through photos, and Evri, which organizes ~15,000 news feeds into a friendly iPad interface, are useful on an individual level. But my concern is:

    How can they scale to community heights when it comes to breaking, spreading, and contextualizing important public information?

    This is not an easy question. To help answer it, I needed to figure out how the mobile sausage is made. So at SIC, I tracked down John SanGiovanni, co-founder of and product design VP for the Zumobi mobile network. It would be wrong to call Zumobi an “ad network,” because while they do serve ads to mobile devices, they also design and build the apps on which the ads run. Right now its “co-publishing network” is being used by some of the biggest heavy hitters in the content world, with clients that range from MSNBC and The Week magazine, to Popular Science, Good Housekeeping, Parenting Magazine, and Motor Trend.

    The good news is that SanGiovanni happily reported financial success on the journalism side of their business. He said their MSNBC app is “a whale” (very profitable) and both the advertisers and the publisher (MSNBC) are happy with the model they’ve set up. It’d be hard not to be, because Zumobi designs and builds the app absolutely free of charge to publishers whom they choose to work with. The company also helps with some of the ad sales, but as a co-publishing network, they expect the publisher to already have a drawer full of dedicated advertisers.

    The not-so-good news is that Zumobi only works with top tier clients and doesn’t have plans to scale down their model to independent and hyperlocal publishers. SanGiovanni assured me he’s a big fan of Maple Leaf Life and cares about supporting grassroots journalism, but it’s just not in the cards for Zumobi right now. The company prefers to swim with bigger fish.

    The reason why this is not-so-good news, rather than bad news completely, is that it means there are still entrepreneurial possibilities for co-publishing networks within the mobile hyperlocal space.

    [Read More on the Journalism Accelerator]

     
  • Report back from the #SIC2011 - The Seattle Interactive Conference

    1:53 pm on November 11, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: Jason Karas, Location Based Marketing Association, Seattle Interactive Conference, Trover

    Journalists have always covered the tech industry as a section of the newspaper, but now, due to the personal media explosion, the very existence of the trade is dependent on conversations and decisions that happen at events like this year’s Seattle Interactive Conference.

    #SIC2011 had many of the same trimmings as the now messianic #SXSWi (South By Southwest Interactive). The obligatory cute cartoon logos, fancy afterparties, overt corporate sponsorship, installation exhibits, free marketing schwag, and custom smartphone app were all part of the $300+ ticket, a tad steep for your average journalist trying to get a bite on how to stay alive.

    So how does this deliver in terms of fulfilling the “information needs of a community?”

    First let’s talk mobile. “Social/Local/Mobile” #SoLoMo was the expression I picked up from Jason Karas of Seattle startup Trover, who put up some interesting stats on rapid mobile adoption:

    • 350 million people are using Facebook through their phones
    • 4 billionTwitter posts come from phones each month (maybe not all through smartphones)
    • 1 billion photos are shared through phones each month (not clear if this is the entire web, or just social media)
    • 1 billion Foursquare checkins have been logged to date

    What’s more interesting is the motivation behind the SoLoMo phenomenon. The Location Based Marketing Association has research that breaks down the motivations of early adopters:

    • 54% want Discounts/Coupons
    • 33% want to meet friends
    • 32% want to learn about the location
    • 30% want to promote the location
    • 38% want to participate in games/contests/receive badges, e.g. become a “Mayor”

    The premise behind Trover is to tap into the human desire to discover and share discoveries, not by means of text reviews and pins on a map (Yelp and Foursquare), but through a rich photographic experience.

    My question to Jason was, how can Trover enable journalists and citizens alike to break stories and receive critical information in their communities?

    [Read More on the Journalism Accelerator]

     
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