Wednesday, June 30, 2010

With FavRav, Get Recommendations from Friends

FavRav, which launched on Monday, lets consumers find quality, trusted referrals from the people they already know. The Facebook-enabled site displays recommendations for nearby service-oriented small businesses, but only displays results from people in that user's existing network. A user's recommendation also display in their Facebook wall, providing new users with incentive to discover the site and create recommendations of their own.The result, hopes FavRav, will be a recommendations engine with more meaningful results to consumers and will convert to new customers for businesses.

"If you're looking for a recommendation on a great 'date night' restaurant or local bar, you can use the other myriad of referral/recommendation sites like Yelp or Citysearch," said Bill Manos, co-founder, FavRav.  "We're really the place people come when you need a trusted referral from friends on important decisions like your first child's pediatrician, a realtor for your next home purchase or an insurance agent to help you protect your family."
FavRav also provides small business accounts, targeting small business owners who rely primarily on referrals, and who want to promote themselves in a more engaging way via social media. FavRav enables business accounts to provide discounts and special offers underneath customer testimonials, both on FavRav and on Facebook They also provide real-time analytics on their referrals. "With FavRav, companies setup quickly, engage customers to refer them and end up with more serious inquiries as a result. It's hassle-free and lets them focus on their business," says Manos.
For more information on FavRav, check out the demo video below:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Social Media Success Story: LOFT

Ann Taylor LOFT's Facebook presence is a great example of social media done right. The LOFT Facebook page provides a variety of content, including photos and videos with information on trends and advice on how to wear them. They offer polls, discussion boards, fashion flipbooks, and links to their blogs and Twitter. The page's wall is filled with user comments. But where LOFT truly excels is by listening to their fans' reactions and responding to them appropriately.

Last week, LOFT created an album featuring a cropped silk cargo pant. The album showed a model wearing the pants to work, for an evening out, or on the weekend. The album received 84 comments- many of them negative. Fans complained that the looks were unrealistic and that the pants would not flatter the average woman.

Loft responded brilliantly. The Digital Programs manager posted on LOFT's Facebook wall acknowledging users' needs and suggested a solution: LOFT created new albums with three ways to wear the new cargo pants, but instead of using models, had LOFT employees, in a variety of shapes and sizes, from 5'3" to 5'10", and sizes 2 to 12, wearing the trend. The result? Positive press and kudos from customers. What a great example of a company who gains from listening to their fans.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Waze Wants Women: Contest Offers Free iPad

Waze is a smartphone application that provides FREE crowdsourced GPS navigation for the consumer, including voice-guided turn-by-turn directions. Users can send live road reports to other users, tweet from the road, share pictures of hazards to let people know why there is a hold up, chat with other drivers, and check in to Foursquare and other location based apps.

Alli Magidsohn, Waze's MarcComm Director, contacted me about a promotion they are holding to attract more women. According to Magidsohn, "We’re a technology start up that loves our users, but there's a small problem – they’re almost all boys!...We’ve been asking ourselves about where all the waze* girlpower is for a while now, and today we’ve finally decided to take action: If you’re a girl gadget geek who loves getting involved in trendsetting technology projects, then waze wants you. We’re looking for ladies to become wazers and to start contributing to the driving communities in their areas. And as a small incentive to help attract more female attention to our app, we’re giving away an iPad to a randomly selected wazerette on June 17."

How to make yourself eligible to win an iPad:

1- Retweet this message on Twitter: Ladies: Help bring girlpower to waze’s free social GPS app for your chance to win a shiny new iPad! Details here:
2 - Download waze, if you haven’t already. Make sure to register your email address in the registration process, or in yours settings, so we’ll be able to contact you, should you be the lucky winner!
3- Post one ‘chit chat’ on the waze map with the message “Girlpower!” Note that to send a ‘chit chat’, all you have to do is to click the ‘report’ button, click the purple and blue ‘chit chat’ icon, type your message, and then click send.

*Please note that the contest is open to women only.
** Webutantes is not affiliated with Waze, will have no part in the selection process, and did not receive any financial compensation for this post.

Mashable: 3 Key Location Trends for Moms

My latest Mashable post, 3 Key Location Trends for Moms, is live. The post discusses the various ways that moms are integrating location-based services (LBS) into their lives. To check it out, click here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Interview with (Díga)Mama Blogger K. Emily Bond

K. Emily Bond is the author of (Díga)Mama, a travel and mommy blog chronicling her move from New York City to Seville, Spain. (Díga)Mama, which translates literally to "say mom," is a thoughtful reflection on expat motherhood and life in Spain, dotted with colorful photographs and tips for travelers. In addition to (Díga)Mama, Emily has for worked for O, The Oprah Magazine, Ladies' Home Journal, and The Village Voice. She's also written for iVillage, The New York Observer, BUST,, the Huffington Post and a host of other publications in the US and abroad.

How did the decision to move to Spain come about?
Once I started complaining (a lot!) about New York, I knew it was time to consider moving to another city. I thought we’d end up in Sydney since my husband lived there for such a long time. Not a bad place at all – a gorgeous city! – but too far away, particularly since we had a newborn at the time. I couldn’t be that far away from my family. We ended up choosing Seville because I have a sister here and she has a son who’s about two years older than ours.

Spain, and Andalucia in particular, is a rather insulated place. What I mean is that it’s not that easy to assimilate to life here. But Seville is a great place for children. We have a green market at the end of our calle (street), bakeries around the corner, numerous parks and, above all else, lots of old women that shower Ezra with attention…it’s just a really nice lifestyle for us and a ton of fun for our son.

What has the transition been like? What was your biggest surprise?

Like I mentioned, it’s not easy moving to Andalucia. It’s very different from the United States and it takes time to get used to things like siesta hours and the accent. But this region has opened up quite a bit since the first time I visited my sister here in the mid-90’s. There are new conveniences, like Ikea. But, for example, unemployment is notoriously high at 20%. We thought we could take advantage of cheaper rents because of that. Of course, we pay a fraction of what we paid in New York, but given the Euro against the Dollar and all that, it’s not as good of a deal as we thought it would be. Another cosa (thing), which is really more of an annoyance than a surprise, is that the juntas (government offices) seem to be in competition with one another to make the simplest of processes as confusing and frustrating as possible.

What is your favorite thing about Seville? What activities would you recommend to families who want to visit?
It’s incredibly family-friendly here. There are bars next to parks and it’s not unusual to see entire families out until midnight, especially now that it’s so hot outside making it impossible to take your kids to the park during the day. For us, the energy in the streets is invigorating. If Ezra is in a bad mood all we have to do is take him on a walk. He loves to watch what the old people are up to, what the dogs are barking about, what music the dreadlocked hippies on the Alameda are listening to, what the flamenco singers are singing about. He’s into all of it. I am not one to keep him out until midnight, but like every other Spanish kid he cannot get enough of the calle.

You're a writer, and you've spent your career writing for newspapers, magazines, and websites. How does blogging differ?
I love how fast it all is! But it’s really important to treat the content you produce for a blog with the same care, quality, and accuracy that you would for a newspaper or magazine. I’m a one-woman-band so that makes it difficult at times. And I’m a mama, so I suffer from a time-deficit most of the time. I end up with typos!

Also, while I would never (ever!) reference Wikipedia for a traditional article, I do sometimes find myself traipsing over there for a quick Wiki-fact when I need one for (Díga)Mama. Wiki-facts are very different from real ones, though, so I stay away from them as much as possible. I use them for confirmation more than sourcing. It’s a big pet peeve of mine when writers use Wikipedia.

 If (as is my dream) someone reads about something on (Díga)Mama and decides to visit that place, I want it to be as true to the experience I blogged about as possible. The point-of-view on the site is specifically mine; but a lot of what I write is still service-journalism.
With a blog, you do have a little bit more leeway, yet you have to be twice as vigilant about how you end up presenting that information. Once you hit publish, which is ultra easy on Wordpress and other blogging platforms, your content is out there for better, worse, in accuracy or not. That’s a lot of responsibility and something that every writer and blogger should take very seriously.

What are your plans for (Díga)Mama going forward?
I’m going to devote more time and energy to (Díga)Mama this summer. Right now it’s hosted on Wordpress, but I’m going to move it over to a different server in the coming months, once I boost my traffic. I’m also going to focus more on networking with other mom and travel bloggers to push traffic that way, too. Eventually, I’d like to enlist other expat mothers to contribute content. In the meantime, (Díga)Mama – that would be me talking about myself in 3rd person again! – can also be found blogging for The Stir at CafeMom.