Failure of QQ’s Social

Well, QQ.com is one of the largest sites in the world (Alexa: 16),  with over 700 million Chinese users.  I did not make a mistake on the number. It’s true, 700 million, or let’s say 0.7 billion users, twice the US population.

Before this experiment, I expected millions of visits if I can really push Tucia China to the top 5 of QQ Bookmark‘s home page. I made it. But this time I was totally wrong with my expectation:

  • Tucia China got 26,000 bookmarks ( My God, it was 26,000!), and stay in the QQ Bookmark’s home page for 24 hours;
  • Only 2000 visits were generated up till now, that is, over 93% of bookmarkers never clicked the title to see what’s inside.
  • Google’s search results shows that no one ever shared this “popular” story online

In the mean time, one of my previous post became one of the most popular story of Del.icio.us:

  • 113 Del.icio.us bookmarks, brought me 600 visits directly.
  • Many kinds of online sharings & spreading were brought about, including FriendFeed, twitter, and other social aggregation sites, e.g. popurls.com, popacular.com, theweblist.net. This part attracted more than 1000 visits.
  • Later, the article was translated to japanese by Gigazine and soon published by Livedoor, which brought me 500 more visits. And some of my other articles were also tranlated by japanese and korean readers.

The result is quite clear: with the same number of bookmarks, the social effect of Del.icio.us is 280 times more than QQ Bookmark. And, QQ Bookmark is totally not a social bookmark.

7 Steps To Build A Better Blog

1. Create Value:

Whatever you write, remember to bring value to readers. Just saying Myspace sucks can’t make your a good writer, since there are over 1 million people already knowing this conclusion earlier than you. Just saying viral marketing is amazing can’t make you a great blogger either. Say something more to make us know something fresh, or, to save our time, or, to create other value.

2. Focus on your own industry:

I can’t remember anything you write if you write about everything. Focus on one industry you’re interested in, man. Beer, Mac, Black-Hole theory…… anything would do, as long as you’d rather cut your sleeping time and sacrifice your dinner to make yourself know it better than anyone else.

3.Blog is not twitter:

Blog is blog, but twitter is another thing. Don’t make your blog into another twitter. I’m not really interested to know what you had for lunch or which brand of soap you bought unless you are Charlize Theron, and 10 posts a day makes me doubt whether you are a blogger.

4.Write drafts:

When you think of some new ideas, put them into drafts as soon as possible. Finally you will find your drafts full of great materials to make a great article, and this is how other Blogger’s great articles are made.

5. Appearance matters:

Just as a great pianist needs a gorgeous concert hall to show his best performance, you need a suitable appearance to make your blog looks great if you believe it is great. Pick a clean theme, use related pictures, insert sharing buttons…and more.

6.Share:

Leave a full link when you quote another blogger’s post, and they will thank you very much and probably do the same thing to you in the future. It’s a small world, and readers won’t forget you just because you refer them to read another blog.

7.Hold on, man:

It’s a lonely and boring job to write blog when no one notice you. Don’t give up if you believe your posts are creating value to the society.  Check your blog system to make sure the SEO part is well done. Hold on and keep writing. If you are still lonely after you write 50 posts, leave your blog address here, dude,  and I’ll be the 1st one to make you not lonely anymore.

[Image from ToothPasteForDinner]

Practical Tips for Google SEO

Never underestimate the power of SEO. It’s the most effective & healthy way of marketing online. Although Google is constantly changing its algorithm of search ranking, but some basic rules for SEO still works at least now. Here is several tips from my own experience when I was in charge of the promotion for Tucia.

Commitment:

Pay money and extend your domain expiration time to 5 or 10 years later, so that Google won’t easily put you into the list of temporary spamming & cheating sites.

80/20 Rule:

20% of your keywords bring 80% of traffic. Give up all the other keywords except these 20% most important ones. 3~5 keywords would be the best. Focus on them.

Forget 6%:

Adjust your content, link’s TITLE, image’s ALT and everything else to high light your keywords. Don’t be afraid of too many keywords (forget about the 6% density limit), because you’ll never have enough high keywords density in a readable text.

I’ve seen a very stupid personal site with lousy page TITLE, DESCRIPTION, META, and shitty codes, but standing right on the top of Google search results. The only reason is ultra-high keyword density which I can never achieve when I try to make visitor enjoy reading it at the same time, for God’s sake.

Avoid Duplication:

Every page must have a different TITLE and DESCRIPTION and also different content text, unless you want Google to put you into the list of trash-producing sites.

Cross-Level Consistency:

You need to make Google believe that you page is highly related to the keywords, which can be simply done by putting the same text in different levels of the same page. Such as link TITLE, link TEXT, image ALT. For example, this text link to abc.htm:

<a href=”/abc.htm” title=”keyword1-keyword2″>keyword1-keyword2</a>

and this image link to abc.htm

<a href=”/abc.htm” title=”keyword1-keyword2″><img src=”/abc.jpg”  alt=”keyword1-keyword2″ /></a>

Remember you have to put keyword1-keyword2 in the page TITLE of abc.htm

IF you can change the page file name of abc.htm to keyword1-keyword2.htm, that will be best:

<a href=”/keyword1-keyword2.htm” title=”keyword1-keyword2″><img src=”/keyword1-keyword2/keyword1-keyword2.jpg”  alt=”keyword1-keyword2″ /></a>

Social Media Effect:

I found it by chance that a high rank in social media (e.g. Digg & del.icio.us) will prominently make your rank higher in Google too. I send Tucia to a low-cost social media marketing service provider called Naifenqian.com, who helped me to get 600 diggs & 300 del.icio.us bookmarkers in a short time. In 72 hours, I found Tucia climbed to Google’s 2nd page from 5th page with the same search keywords.

Use Great Tools:

http://www.the-escape.co.uk/tools/pageanalyzer/

http://www.searchengine-analysis.com/

http://website.grader.com/

专注于利基市场

刚开始做Tucia的时候,前辈告诫我:一定要清晰地锁定一个目标群体。

虽说我当面表示同意,但骨子里我无法理解。为什么Tucia只能做一个目标群体?Tucia的服务对老人小孩、男人女人、70后90后、各色人等都适合,干嘛要作茧自缚,放弃其他市场呢?

最近才开始理解这个道理。

首先为了营销成本的考虑,切入一个90后的市场,只需要占用30%的时间和精力,如果还想同时做60后,70后,80后,那么加起来就需要占用你100%的时间和精力。

其次是投入产出比的考虑,假设90后的需求占到了80%,那么,花同样的时间和精力,这帮人带来的利益原超过剩余的20%的长尾。如果能抓住80%,何必还在乎20%呢。

再次是品牌形象的考虑,以Tucia为例,如果想包罗一切,服务所有人,那么最后只能沦落为“修图服务”这样的惨地。 如果锁定目标群体,就可以更明确、具体、有针对性的进行包装。比如90后的小孩都喜欢show自己,把自己改造成美女帅哥,那么Tucia的品牌形象就可以打造成“Make you shine in 24 hours”,从一个底层的服务升华到更高层的人性需求。而这个定位与中老年人喜欢的“老照片修复”、“美化家庭合影”等完全不搭调,无法兼得。

当然,上述论断的前提是:你已经通过实践摸索确认了目标市场的存在。而确定目标市场又是一门很关键的艺术。

When I was starting on Tucia‘s business, many enterpreneurs told me to focus on one niche market, no more than two. I said “Oh, sure. Thanks”, but I didn’t quite get it,  why I should drop other market while Tucia’s service can be appreciated by almost everyone?

Things become clear these days when I found 3 key reasons:

1. Marketing Cost: It may takes 30% of you total budget to take a certain share in teens marketing, while it may cost you 100% if you wanna take teens, adults, and elders all.

2. Revenue Efficiency: Assume teens can generate 80% of the total demand in this market, then it’s not as efficient if you try to acquire the other 20% demand.

3. Branding: It’s stupid if you try to produce something which is loved by anyone. Especially when it comes to your brand image. While Tucia can restore torn photos, polish editorial pictures,  beautify personal photos, even design commercial ads, it’s impossible to build a brand image which includes everything and still clear other than the shitty “repair photos for you” slogan. Finally we choose “Make you shine”, and focus on individual customers.

There’s one thing I have to say, the 3 points above is only suitable for those companies who have already confirmed their target market. This is another sophisticated art to learn.

Why online advertisements fail

I’ve made a small-budget advertisement on Google Adsense and Facebook Ads, and both failed.

Eye-tracking studies have shown users ignore ads and ads-similar elements (like shining text & colorful square images) . The essential reason is online users are initiative, not captive.

People go to websites for specific purpose (even without purpose, they have this special purpose for surfing around), and no one likes to be a slave of ads. This process is totally different from seeing ads on bus, where you have no other choice than staring at ads for fun; and also different from search ads, which is more an helpful recommendation tool than spam.

Passivity is the killing factor for a successful ad campaign. FocusMedia, a phenomenon in China’s media history, is pushing ads into users’ “boring” time, e.g. on bus, waiting for elevator, queuing before cashier……People love it because they have no better choice than those ads.

Tudou is one of the largest video sharing site in China. The interesting thing about it is a similar ad model: Watching ads while waiting for video loading.

在经历了google adsense的内容广告和facebook的精准广告的失败之后,互联网广告已经让我绝望了。互联网广告的失败之处在于,用户已经越来越主动了,他们准确的知道自己上网的目的是为了搜寻某种信息,即使无聊上网,也是在寻找一些可以打发时间的乐子。任何时候,广告都是过街老鼠。眼球追踪实验的研究已经证实用户一直在本能的躲避广告(以及类似于广告的元素)。

只有一种情况下除外:无聊的时候。

分众传媒就是靠“无聊广告” 起家的,在你等电梯的时候,在公车上发呆的时候,在排队结帐的时候,简直无聊之极,这个时候广告就是救世主。同样,土豆网也是,在视频加载的时候,网页的背景就是一副多彩的大广告,的确可以打发时间,用户也愿意看。

无聊经济真是一个很有意思的模式。twitter也是够无聊的了,结果发现人们比自己想象的还要无聊。