Tag Archives: facebook

Retail

Facebook Buy – frictionless innovation

Facebook’s recent introduction of a ‘buy’ button, allowing users on desktop and mobile to buy advertised products with just one click, and without leaving the social network, is yet another demonstration of social platforms looking towards monetization beyond display advertising.

The new feature, which so far has only been tested by a few small and medium-sized businesses in the US, is Facebook’s most recent innovation in the realm of frictionless commerce and will help the social network be less reliant on advertising.

It isn’t just Facebook exploring direct and affiliate revenue. Twitter has just announced the acquisition of CardSpring, a payment infrastructure, that enables retailers to connect to publishers to create online-to-offline promotions; Pinterest, meanwhile, has teamed up with Shopify, an e-commerce platform for more than 100,000 merchants, which ensures that all pins of their products include valuable information such as pricing and stock availability.

These approaches enable platforms to become more insular experiences, almost like shopping malls – allowing users to socialise with their friends, grab a coffee, find and share new content, search and purchase products, all without leaving their space. Whilst Amazon has huge capabilities in commerce and fulfillment, they lack the social dynamic – and social platforms integrating commerce means you can have a more enjoyable ‘browsing’ experience, without having to leave the space.

The rise of media convergence, driven not least by the unprecedented growth of mobile device usage, is increasingly bringing commerce and content closer together. The constant assault of new technologies, whether Facebook’s ‘buy’ button, Amazon’s FireFly or examples like PowaTag, which allows consumers to instantly purchase products via QR codes, are continuing to break down the old models of what, where and how retail is defined – e-commerce is now becoming ‘everywhere’ commerce.

The biggest threat to retailers now comes from standing still.

Not exploring and experimenting with new distribution channels will open up opportunities for new forms of competitors, enabling them to steal ‘share of time’ and even poach customers – a dangerous scenario that retailers can no longer ignore. Now is the time for retailers and brands who exist in retail spaces to work with their partners, and understand how they can use these technologies to redefine their retail experience, and redefine how media can deliver business value.

(Originally posted on Retail Week)

Facebook is not a social network

Facebook is not a social network.
It is a profile, connections and permissions management platform.
Facebook will become less and less of an entry point. Data will be provided from all of our connected devices and services.
Facebook will become a control panel for controlling who can see what and when.
Hopefully Facebook know this, and will focus efforts on improving these dashboards, knobs and twiddles, which allow fine control of your data being sucked in and pumped out.
Hopefully users will understand this, and make sure they take the time to dashboard, knob and twiddle who can see their life.

Open Rights Group, Zittrain and Facebook Regulation

Flickr image from arcticpenguin used under a CC License

I was in the audience for last night’s debate between Professor Jonathan Zittrain and Bill Thompson, on the subject of his new book “The Future of the Internet and what we can do to stop it“, hosted by Becky Hogge and the good people at the Open Rights Group. Having not read the book yet, there was fortunately a primer into his concerns over the “inevitable” reduction in freedoms we currently enjoy online, whether those freedoms come from threats such as malicious cracking, viruses and spam, tethered platforms, regulatory bodies or walled garden / happy valley situations like Facebook. Its a very interesting topic of debate, and I look forward to reading the book when the postman brings it next week. I can’t help feeling that some of Professor Zittrain’s points were a little ‘fear culture’ish to make people aware of the issues – in the same way that the instigator of the Y2K stories played up the significance of the problem to make sure it reached a wider audience (but of course turned into a media/social frenzy), but there is definately a great deal of truth in some of the points raised by both Bill, Johnathan and some of the questions posed by the audience. I’m not going to say anything more until i’ve read the book though, and he was an extremely interesting speaker – I can’t help thinking it will provide an interesting follow on from Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody which i’m reading currently.

As if by some form of perfectly organised timing though, RWW and the Guardian are running articles today about the public’s desire for some form of regulation into social networks like Facebook. I realised last night that regulation does not always have to mean restriction, and Sir Christopher Meyer of the PPC’s comment that “There is a need for public awareness about what can happen to information once it is voluntarily put into the public domain,” is absolutely correct, but I’m not sure that means OFCOM need to step in.

‘Public’ conversations in real life are aimed at the person or people you’re standing next to in your social circle and they can be overheard, but social norms mean we tend not to listen too intently to a mobile conversation taking place next to you. However, online, the flawless reproducability of digital conversations which also take place in this “public” arena added to the thought that a conversation online is therefore for “public consumption” make for bad juju. You wouldn’t photograph or record someone sitting opposite you on the train, but you might happily link to their twitter conversation, and that is quite a social disconnect. I think that might, in time, change, but whilst we’re learning new social mores to deal with this public/private dichotomy, self regulation is far more practical and relevant.

If you don’t want people to see it, don’t post it – even if you have privacy turned up to 11. That’s the rule. There are enough channels to privately get something from A to B without resorting to Facebook or similar, and that is about education. Teens are extremely savvy when it comes to privacy and posting on their social spaces, us adults are less aware. The Guardian article mentions journalists facebook doorstepping and whilst I can totally see how invasions of privacy are upsetting, if you’ve posted something on Facebook and haven’t considered who can access that, is that really private?

If regulation is placed on the social networks, it should be security focussed, imposing penalties for flaws in the code and the ability for crackers to get in and show supposed ‘private’ content, not user regulation.

Update: You can listen to an audio recording of the debate over at the Open Rights Group site. You might even be able to hear me ask about sewers.