Sunday, November 30, 2008

Coolspotters Connects Pop Culture’s People, Places, and Things

A community for pop culture junkies, Coolspotters shows users the latest celebrity products, places, and brands. Clicking on the iPhone, for example, shows related celebrities (Britney Spears, Samantha Ronson), entertainment (Sex & the City), products (MacBook pro), events, brands, books, and art. Users can become a fan of the product, add a new associated item, upload photos or videos, and even add the product to a list. The site also works in reverse, allowing users to see the products used, clothes worn, and places frequented individual celebrities.

Gossip blogs, magazines, and TV shows have been identifying stars’ fashion, cars, and product choices for years. However, there are very few places on the web that aggregate that information. Coolspotters offers a unique concept- searching for products by the celebrities who are using them and vice versa- and they do it all with user-generated content.

Monday, November 17, 2008 Offers User-Friendly Baby Name Site

With its streamlined design and user-friendly site, offers expectant mothers (and fathers) a fun and easy way to search for baby names. Users can search through the requisite list of baby names based on ethnic and religious traditions, and also look through a comprehensive list of celebrity’s baby names.

The fun begins, however, when users can select from a list of dispositions- such as adventurous, happy, and strong, etc. A disposition can be selected individually, and combinations among dispositions can be created. Users can also search separately for boy names and girl names. Explanations for individual names can be found, as well as alternative iterations of the name, tags, and a link to Google search results. Names can also be saved to a user’s favorites. The sleek design distinguishes WhataLovelyName, making it a welcome change from the large group of busy, difficult to navigate baby name sites.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Yahoo Buzz! Adds Updates, Continues to be Female-Friendly Alternative to Digg

Yahoo Buzz!, which launched last winter, recently added new features, solidifying its role as a mainstream alternative to Digg, a social bookmarking site notorious for its "frat-boy" content. Like other social bookmarking sites, Buzz allows users to share links and vote on articles in a variety of categories. What makes Yahoo Buzz unique is its focus on the mainstream, focusing on categories like Entertainment, Politics, Lifestyle, and Health, among others. The recent updates on Buzz allow users to see the stories that people in one’s contact list are buzzing up. Also, Buzz votes are now part of user profiles, so users can see what stories a particular individual has Buzzed up or down, as well as stats like how many times someone has been the original person to submit an article and the number of comments they’ve left. Buzz also updated their commenting capabilities, allowing users give thumbs up or down to individual comments and showing threaded replies. All of these updates are strikingly similar to Digg’s functionality, positioning Buzz even more as a female-friendly

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mom Bloggers Review Products, Opening the Door for Direct Interaction with Brands

78% of moms who blog review products, according to new data released by Mom Central Consulting.

What does that mean for marketers and advertisers? Emarketer suggests that the proliferation of product reviews could make mothers who blog more receptive to contact from brands. Debra Aho Williamson, a senior analyst for eMarketer, claims, “Moms like to share advice with other moms because they remember how hard it was to find the right car seat, stroller or daycare for their own children. They want to pay it forward by giving recommendations and tips, and that gives them a sense of gratification.”

Williamson offers a three step plan for reaching out to mothers:

1. Anticipate their needs
2. Provide factual information
3. Encourage their interest in sharing with other parents

Very sound advice, although I would add a fourth item - follow up with moms to gather feedback and suggestions for improvement. Web 2.0 has allowed all consumers to become publishers, which in turn has opened up the conversation between brands and consumers. Smart brands will be proactive in opening up the conversation with consumers. People who are blogging about a brand’s products obviously feel strongly about them and they are more likely to hold a favorable opinion if they feel that the brand is listening to them.