techcrunch – Social media business strategies blog Sun, 25 Mar 2018 22:10:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 techcrunch – 32 32 Photos of TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 Thu, 12 Sep 2013 10:29:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]> mark-zuckerberg

JD LasicaIthink this is the seventh year of TechCrunch Disrupt in all its incarnations, and I’ve been to them all. Yesterday I wrote about some new social travel startups making their debut, and today I’m sharing my photos of the event.

Here’s my Flickr set of TechCrunch Disrupt (remember Flickr? I still prefer it to Facebook for sharing photos), and I’ll be adding more later today.

While some of the mainstays of the tech scene — Marissa Mayer, John Doerr, Jeff Weiner — remain the same from year to year, the new founders and startup teams — from startups like Udacity, Lyft and Snapchat — are what give TechCrunch conferences their sizzle. See if you recognize anyone! 

Up-close photos of TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 Fri, 14 Sep 2012 13:02:38 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Mark Zuckerberg

JD LasicaIn the past two years, TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco has become the single most important technology conference on the planet. And so it was this week, as entrepreneurs and startup founders and marketers came out in droves at the SF Design Concourse for three days of preening, schmoozing and, yes, showcasing of cutting-edge technologies, many of them social tools.

I received a press pass to this year’s event, which ran Monday to Wednesday, and created this Flickr photo set of 174 photos, including Mark Zuckerberg, actress Jessica Alba, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and dozens of innovators, venture capitalists and tech fangirls and fanboys (I’m certainly one).

For coverage of the event, here are a few headlines:

TechCrunch: Conference highlights

The Huffington Post: Mark Zuckerberg At TechCrunch: Everything You Need To Know About Everything Zuck Shared YourMechanic wins TechCrunch Disrupt Cup – The Business Journals

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The Long Tail strategy for AdWords works for blogger outreach Wed, 11 Jan 2012 13:00:37 +0000 Continue reading ]]>
The Long Tail

Chris AbrahamLast week, I wrote about how to succeed with B-list bloggers, but maybe some of you aren’t convinced. So, this week, I want to draw an analogy to successful Google AdWords approaches so that you can see how to apply that same technique to blogger outreach. When it comes to reaching out to bloggers online, there’s a lot you can learn from Google AdWords. Long-tail blogger outreach is like long-tail Google AdWords advertising. Instead of putting all your money on the top 10 most expensive and popular keywords that everyone bids on, smart advertisers segment their markets and hyper-target their highest-performing keywords with their most compelling ads and content while always pruning away their worst performers.

The same should be done with blogger outreach. There will always be blogs that are out of your league and your target audience. Instead of hitting your head against the wall by trying to make it onto TechCrunch and Mashable, learn to segment your blogger list, target more precisely while expanding your pool of bloggers past the top most blogs that tend also to be the most exclusive and difficult to break into — out of your league — to blogs and bloggers who are just starting out, who blog more from passion than ad revenue, and who are naturally more receptive to your content and your message based on a natural affinity.

Affiliate marketers have learned that they can reliably make money by spending money on Google AdWords by finding keyword phrases with such low bids that they can make money from the relatively small commissions or bounty they get from converting the click throughs to sales. Millions in yearly profits cent by cent, dollar by dollar. A cascade of small sales made by people who were so well targeted to that they were almost powerless to resist.

If you’re able to find yourself thousands of bloggers who have yet to be discovered by your all your competitors, you’ll be able to secure hundreds of earned media mentions.

The same thing can be done with blogger outreach. If you’re able to find yourself thousands of bloggers who have yet to be discovered by your all your competitors, you’ll be able to secure hundreds of earned media mentions. In concert, hundreds of earned media mentions both drown out a single post on TechCrunch and also do a better job or finding what you really want: sales.

All the most successful AdWords gurus, such as Adam Viener of imwave, realize that you can only make money in affiliate marketing with Google AdWords if you can make more money from your converted sales than you spend. You can’t do this unless you find the magic sweet spot where there aren’t many competing bidders who are bidding up the price of your keyword phrases so that you can both keep your spending low and also increase the likelihood that those who do stumble upon your ad will not only click through, costing you money, but also make a trackable major purchase, resulting in a commission–in commissions–that cover the costs of the ads and then some. This is not easy and the field fluctuates.

It takes expertise and vigilance, Adam tells me, and a mistake can be costly. One possibly apocryphal story reported that there was a very profitable keyword phrase that suddenly also became popular and the bids shot up without someone noticing, resulting in the equivalent of a Range Rover being lost in one day. Because of such high risks tantamount to the stock market, these folks are very good at discovering and milking the long tail, realizing that making a little bit here and there spread concurrently over hundreds and thousands of ads and keywords is more profitable, long term, than making a single big score.

If you’re loaded with cash and don’t really care about extracting value from your campaign, you can spend all your money on trying to get your ad copy at the top of every Google Search just to see it there but being constantly outbid by others, ultimately clearing out your budget or maxing your credit card; the same can be said with regards to blogger outreach: you can spend all your budgeted time and money pursuing the top bloggers while constantly being blocked by content from bigger, sexier, richer, more impressive national and global brands that have exclusive content and truckloads of valuable review products, better assets, and a promise of more and better traffic resulting in higher advertising revenue.

The most obvious thing you can learn is how easily it is to get outbid. Another thing you’ll learn is that AdWords can rapidly burn all your cash with nothing to show for it. Finally, you’ll learn that Google doesn’t wage a fair fight — they both play favorites as well as giving preference to quality of ad over quantity of bid.

What this means in Google AdWords ads is that you’re rewarded for the following: 1) Having lots of cash: a fool and his money are soon parted 2) Finding new markets: Being willing to hunt out holes in the market — keyword combinations that are not so obvious but are hyper-targeted to appeal to a new segment of visitors, bringing new opportunities for Google to make money 3) Creating an irresistible ad: no matter how much money you’re willing to spend, Google doesn’t make money unless visitors are compelled to click through 4) Becoming a long-term client: there are many cases where no amount or money and wit will claim you the top ad position on Google search, inline with organic search, because that spot almost always goes to the client who has made Google the most money, historically, over time.

These lessons map perfectly to blogger outreach.

The blogosphere rewards specialization and laser-targeting

The most desired, desirable, and “easy” keywords are like the top bloggers with the highest Alltop rankings and Klout scores are constantly being pursued. How realistic are you that you can even compete with all the others vying for their time and copy? If you’re Dell or Sony, you probably have the sort of brand recognition and respect to be able to get a blogger to schedule time to review your new gizmo pretty thoroughly. You’ll probably also have the sort of marketing budget that would allow you to offer a review product to everyone you engage.

You’ll probably have a graphic design department and a staff of copywriters who can develop an amusing and compelling pitch which could include press junkets and personal meet and greets. Finally, a company like Dell is able to commit the long-term time, staff, and expense account towards making sure their communications team developed and professional as well as personal relationship with as many online influencers and online journalists over time — to use Google AdWords parlance, they have learned how to appeal to Google on all levels.

How many levels are you able to compete on? If you’re unable to compete on any of these levels, you’ll go bankrupt trying. It’s not that A-List tech bloggers are corrupt, it’s just that they’re under pressure as well. They have only 24-hours/day and they’re heavily rewarded with traffic when they’re able to get exclusive content from a national player such as Dell. In the same way that Google AdWords rewards its clients for trying harder and digging deeper into the “long tail” in order to find new, under-served, markets, the blogosphere also rewards specialization and laser-targeting.

In a perfect world, one should only spend one’s AdWords budget on keywords phrases that display ads only to people who will convert into clients and customers. The better one knows one’s market and customer and the more time one spends finding out who and where they are and engaging them there, the more value you can extract from your sweat and cash.

Let’s say you’re preparing to launch your new book online and you want to use bloggers as an essential distribution channel, both great ideas. However, let’s think this through. Are you internationally famous crime fiction writer James Ellroy or are you an unknown first-time, self-published, crime fiction-writer? Do you have a huge war chest to fuel your promotional campaign or are you running on sweat equity? Do you have thousands of friends online who are already committed to buying your book because you have been developing your popularity online by sharing chapters and answering questions and giving free advice or have you been busily scribbling your work on yellow pads and consider your work protected by strict copyright and not something to dilute by giving it away?

Novice Google AdWords users waste a lot of money with limited results when they start out because they don’t understand how the competition works in contextual ad-buying: It’s an auction. A complicated auction.

In short, the way it works is that every keyword combination, such as “social media marketing,” competes with four things: the general popularity of the search, the quality of the keyword ad, the long-term success of the campaign, and how much money others are willing to bid for their ad based on their keyword choice, also dependent on their prior successes, ad spends, and long-term commitment. In shorter, while how much you’re willing to bid for a keyword phrase is important, it isn’t that simple.

With blogger outreach, you face the same odds as for paid search. If you are targeting only the top blogs, you’ll face immense competition and can easily be outgunned by bigger foes. If you target the long tail of bloggers, you can more easily land your targets and will build up success one blog at a time, rather than in one fell swoop.

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Become a big fish by starting in a smaller pond Wed, 04 Jan 2012 11:00:35 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Chris AbrahamIt’s always a tough question: would you rather be the smallest fish in a big pond or the biggest fish in a small pond? Would you prefer to be the ugliest pretty person or the prettiest ugly person? Would you prefer to have the lowest IQ at MIT or the highest IQ at State?

This is all according to your preference, but when it comes to a blogger outreach campaign, the decision is never so zero-sum, not nearly so either/or. You can always do both, right? You can always secure hundreds of long-tail earned media mentions while you’re desperately working on securing coverage on Mashable and TechCrunch. You can lock in hundreds of posts short term while you’re wining and dining Pete Cashmore in Manhattan to make sure you become BFFs, so that you’ll have that inside track on getting column inches for your future newsworthy announcements.

However, in the meanwhile, getting those hundreds of posts on B-list-through-Z-list blogs ensures that you start building your reputation as a player. Consider this your bush league experience. Like doing your time in the small clubs. Paying your dues. In fact, most journalists and A-list bloggers glean their story ideas from the blogs they reach, from their influencers, blogs and bloggers who may well be less popular but are still highly influential.

Do you have the sort of news, offerings, and quality of content that can compete with the big players? Do you have the kind of prior relationships with the top bloggers and journalists or do they not know you from Adam?

This is not only about blogger ego and their desire to be treated like demigods by multinational agencies and their billion dollar consumer electronics clients–though that doesn’t hurt–it also has to do with the prestige of the blog’s content as well as the aspiration of what the blog and the blogger wants to become.

Where do you fit on that? You need to be realistic. You need to judge fairly where you are in the competition. Do you have the time, the resources, the reputation, the newsworthiness, the novelty, or the prior relationship to make it into TechCrunch? If not, that’s OK. There is no reason to fight over the top 25 blogs of your industry or the top 100 blogs in general, because there may be over one billion blogs worldwide, which equates to one out of every six people in the world.

Realistically, unless you’re the quarterback of your high school football team, you’re being unrealistic if you limit your options for prom to just the captain of the cheerleaders. There are so many appealing dates for prom everywhere in school. If you’re only applying to Harvard and Yale, you had better also be not only at the top of your class but also a legacy, score a perfect score on your SAT, letter on a sport, and have a well-developed set of extracurricular activities.

Work toward Prom King and an incoming freshman spot at Harvard College, but plan also on going to prom with someone and to college at all. Aim high but have a plan B and C. Remember, also, that being the best lover with the best prom date you get can always results in better dates in the future and being the best student in the college you are accepted to can always result in getting to Harvard as a transfer or in graduate school later.

Focus on being a big fish in a small pond. As you are working to succeed at that, you’ll naturally graduate to the A-list if you have the goods. But if you shoot for the A-list pond exclusively, and you don’t make the cut, you won’t have done anything to win with the B-list.

Start small and grow to make blogger outreach work for you. Via Biznology

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Real Americans don’t care much about A-list blogs Wed, 05 Oct 2011 13:00:42 +0000 Continue reading ]]> AbrahamI had breakfast with John Bell of Ogilvy a number of years ago. He didn’t see the value of investing limited budget, time and resources on the long tail when those treasures would better be used to woo the high-fliers, professionals, top-cows and A-listers. That’s fair enough, and surely a common question, and a question we must address close to the beginning of every sales call we make at our agency when we propose blogger outreach to a prospective client.

The value comes from penetration, permanence, perseverance and persistence. There are only a finite number of members of every organization’s email list. Mashable and TechCrunch have a sizable but vertical (narrow) audience. When we reach out and pitch to thousands of bloggers, however small or niche, if they’re within maybe one but generally a handful of loosely defined topics, we always reach well outside of the echo chamber of a conversation that tends to get contained within the walls of a tech blog or mommy blog.

By reaching out ever further, we don’t assume that anyone outside of the five major urban centers are obsessed with the top five major papers or the top five major blogs. Doing so makes the critical mistake that if you get covered by the FT, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, you’ve got the world covered. In fact, I will use a newspaper analogy to try to illustrate my point.

The top A-list blogs and bloggers are analogous to David Gelles and the top journalists at the FT, the Times, Washington Post and the Journal. Though highly prestigious, getting your new startup covered by Mr. Gelles may very well not be enough. Outside of Chicago, New York, LA, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Boston and Miami, the United States is also a collection of regional, city, town and village daily papers as well as weeklies and newsletters and journals, both academic and professional, and email lists and Web-only news sources.

People have only a finite amount of time, so their consumption of content, information, news, reviews and alerts is limited. The closer you can get to the media organ that your target market consumes primarily and religiously, the higher the probability that content will register with the reader, will resonate with the reader, and will feel like it is intimate to the reader and his local community and experience of the world.

The Internet is such a gift. Never before has it been remotely possible to reach out to thousands of publishing platforms in one go, with just a team of five, globally or geographically, with a couple follow-ups and concierge service, with the reliable results of hundreds of posts and their associated tweets, retweets and secondary coverage. Add to this long-tail “theory of everyone” campaign a more one-to-one, relationship-based, Rolodex outreach to your most connected agents to-to list and you can have all the mentions in the rarefied air of the A-list as you can manage in the time allowed (and with what you have to pitch — sometimes the quality or sexiness isn’t there and it can be a super-tough sell, requiring horse-trading, etc.) in addition to the hundreds of earned media mentions that one can very reliably acquire — with the first posts showing up two weeks after the contract is signed and going on for another four weeks.

Building connections with the top influencers

One of the biggest issues with A-list outreaches that I experienced when I was at NMS and Edelman is that what happens when you only have a prior relationship with only a handful of top-tier semi-professional and professional bloggers and blogger networks that are germane to the topic or demographic of the client? What happens if you don’t know enough and the ones you do know aren’t interested or don’t think it’s interesting or a viable post?

There are times when you’ve been given a huge retainer by a huge client to push a “meh” product to an A-list that’s not interested and the time passes, the bell rings and you’ve rolled snake eyes. Nothing. No coverage — or very little, surely not aligned to the client’s expectation — or your boss’s.

We discovered that we were a lot less vulnerable to panic attacks when we bought insurance. At my agency, we do pursue A-listers, of course. But those relationships are real. They take time. Since we don’t have a strong vertical, we don’t know who we’re going to need to engage in the A-list at any one time. And, when we do sort out the A-list in any particular blogosphere, thanks to the help of eCairn, then we need to spend time building that connection, personally, with the top influencers. While that is happening, we task our seven blogger researchers with finding everyone else, using a very well-thought-out collection of keyword phrases. In general, we have two weeks or less before our first outreach. The clock is ticking.

Via Biznology

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4 Israeli startups that made waves at TechCrunch Disrupt Fri, 16 Sep 2011 13:28:30 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

Blonde 2.0 on TechCrunch Disrupt from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaIt has become something of a tradition for me to interview my partner Ayelet Noff, aka Israel’s Blonde 2.0, at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, which ended Wednesday.

This year Ayelet headed up the communications and social media for four Israeli startups, which were fairly representative of the fledgling Web 2.0-style companies that showcased at the seminal tech conference in San Francisco:

Tonara: This was one of my favorite discoveries: an iPad application for musicians that provides interactive sheet music. Tonara will show you where you are on your sheet music, and it will flip the pages for you. As Ayelet notes, until now, sheet music hasn’t changed much since Mozart’s time. As the pièce de résistance, on Monday they brought in a string quartet with ex-Facebook honcho Randi Zuckerberg as lead singer. (Who knew that Randi can warble like an angel?)

uTest: Looking for someone to kick the tires of your new website or app? uTest uses crowdsoruced testing for usability testing, loading testing — “anything, anywhere, in any circumstance” testing, says Ayelet.

Farmigo: One of the more ambitious efforts, Farmigo is an effort to create a global network that lets consumers find and purchase locally grown, fresh produce.

TapTank: Use your social networks to achieve goals and build relationships in real life. Sign up for early access to the online service.

Watch, download or embed the 6-minute video on Vimeo

A production note: At 3 am, I gave up on trying to correct the white balance, which went kablooey about 3 minutes into the 6-minute interview. The Color Correction filter in Final Cut Express just flat-out refused to work after a dozen attempts. So I opted for timeliness rather than high production values.

Photos of TechCrunch Disrupt 2011 Fri, 16 Sep 2011 13:01:09 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Ashton Kutcher

JD LasicaIhad a blast at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco this week. Met startup CEOs, some new and old friends, marketers, grassroots journalists — and not a few tech pioneers.

Here’s my Flickr photo set of 80-plus photos — including actor/celebrity Ashton Kutcher (who’ll be replacing Charlie Sheen on CBS’s “Two and a Half Men,” but has an incisive instinct for investing in innovative tech startups), Mike Arrington, Sarah Austin of Pop17, Gina Bianchini, Kevin Rose and my longtime partner, Ayelet Noff, aka Blonde 2.0.

See coverage of TechCrunch Disrupt and my accompanying interview with Ayelet Noff about four startups that made waves here.

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Best International Startup at TC50: Trollim Wed, 16 Sep 2009 07:09:16 +0000 Continue reading ]]> trollim

Ayelet Noff

Trollim was chosen by TechCrunch as the Best International Startup at TC50 yesterday — well done!

Trollim is a competition platform for programmers unlike any other you’ve encountered before. Trollim assesses the coding level and performance skill set of programmers via one to one or one to many coding “battles” no matter where they are in the world. Think of Eminem’s rap battles in the movie 8 mile — but this time not for rappers but for programmers.

(Disclosure: Trollim is a client of Blonde 2.0 and Blonde 2.0 is proud to introduce the world to this new amazing platform.)

Once a programmer registers on Trollim, he must take a personalized skill test. Once that test is finished, he is allowed to compete in Battles with other programmers. Now he is ready to take his first coding test. Trollim’s testing engine will examine the details the programmer submitted and will show him a piece of broken code related to his skill set. The challenge is to fix the code in the fastest and most efficient manner possible without the use of programming shortcuts. His performance is rated not only against his challenger but other programmers who share a similar skill set.

Companies are able to sponsor the Battles and receive detailed statistics on the programmers and their level of skill. Enterprises will be able to license the platform for internal use, thereby enabling these companies to gain a deeper insight into the skill set of their programmers and potential hires.

The rating of the programmer’s skill set is dependent on a set of tests that he takes and is compared to other programmers with the same skill set. Trollim warns cheaters that they “will be caught and locked away in the Trollim Dungeon.”

How Trollim works

Just like on Twitter, on Trollim the programmer can follow other programmers (Trolls) and they can follow him back. Users can search for other Trolls based upon criteria such as country, city, age group,  coding languages, skills and more. The programmer can invite Trolls he follows into a battle anytime he likes. Trolls can only compete against each other  if they share appropriate skill sets (i.e. language, years of experience, etc). Battles are found both on the Battle and Search pages. Users can also find battles using the Troll universe map. Users cannot participate in more than 10 Battles at any given moment.

There’s also something called a Rumble Battle. This battle allows one Troll to fight many Trolls and the parameters for who can participate varies on the Rumble’s sponsor. Battles can be selected by geographical location, age and other parameters set by the sponsor. A Rumble can be created by the Trollim website or by a company sponsoring the Rumble. Trolls who win the Rumble or get high scores receive extra rating points. Some of the Rumbles will also include prizes. The value of the prizes is directly related to the Trolls skill level.

Israel-based Trollim allows programmers to show companies their skill set and make themselves attractive candidates for positions in companies they are seeking to work at. Enterprises are able to use the data provided by Trollim to further understand the skills their in-house programmers currently have and to find new programmers that may have the skill set they are looking for. No other current platform enables both programmers and enterprises to maximize on these programming skills as well as Trollim does.

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Interviews with Scoble, Arrington Thu, 06 Jul 2006 05:40:09 +0000 Continue reading ]]>


I have new interviews up at Real People Network with ex-Microsoft blogging legend Robert Scoble, top, and top 10 blogger Mike Arrington.