Posts tagged Front
Holiday shoppers will be more mobile than ever this year and Twitter data shows many of them will rely on Twitter for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Here’s how retailers can make Twitter and mobile work to their advantage this holiday season.
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A recent article in BtoB Magazine highlights how marketing to the electronics engineering vertical is changing due to technological innovation and the demands of a more specialized (and time-constrained) workforce. The focus of the article centers around content marketing designed to attract buyers…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
As consumers grow more accustomed to speedy online deliveries, eBay is hoping to exceed consumer demand. To accomplish this, the auction giant just acquired Shutl, a marketplace that uses a network of couriers to deliver local goods on a same-day basis.
According to Devin Wenig, president of eBay Marketplaces, consumption on the auction network has shifted strongly toward local purchases, probably as a result of eBay Now, a service released last October that lets shoppers order products from local stores and receive them in as little as an hour.
“Today, approximately 75 percent of what people buy is local, found within 15 miles from their home,” said Wenig. “Traditional retail isn’t going away. But it is transforming, and that creates enormous opportunity within the $10 trillion total commerce market.”
Shutl, which lists its speediest delivery to date as a little under 14 minutes after purchase, could give eBay a leg up on same-day shipping rival, Amazon. Currently, Amazon offers same-day shipping in select American cities.
Image courtesy of Shutl.
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ReadWriteBuilders is a series of interviews with developers, designers and other architects of the programmable future.
Alexis Ohanian took on the challenge of building the “front page of the Internet” by co-founding the social platform Reddit in 2005. Reddit has blossomed into one of the most popular social sites on the web, boasting over 80 million unique visitors a month.
Ohanian went on to help launch the travel site Hipmunk and the social enterprise site Breadpig. He is an outspoken advocate for an open Internet, and last year blacked out Reddit’s front page in protest against Hollywood-backed bills that would have allowed the U.S. government to unilaterally blacklist alleged pirate sites from the Internet. (Congress abandoned the legislation following widespread Internet protests.)
He’s best known for Reddit, a site famous for launching viral articles, images and videos on the strength of “upvotes” from its huge user base. The site’s “Ask Me Anything“ sessions, known colloquially as AMAs, have brought celebrities, politicians, scientists and CEOs to answer questions posed by Reddit users. Participants have included Bill Gates, Madonna, Stephen Colbert, Psy, Rachel Maddow and President Obama.
Ohanian’s new book, Without Their Permission, details how he became an entrepreneur, a story that he hopes will resonate with young people who are thinking of starting their own businesses. “I want to knock entrepreneurship off its pedestal,” he says. “I’m taking the book tour directly to millenials, the people that are forced to create their own careers.”
I sat down with Ohanian to talk about some of the challenges he’s faced along the way and some of his most exciting accomplishments. (Adopting a cat, he said, is one of them.)
The Hard Way
ReadWrite: What inspired you to start Reddit?
Alex Ohanian: Well, failure. When I was a junior at the University of Virginia I was on track to be a lawyer, and I was obsessing over my GPA and all that stuff. And then I went to a Waffle House. I walked out of an LSAT prep course and into a Waffle House and realized I wanted to not be a lawyer, and that I’d better come up with something else.
I started talking to my friend Steve [Huffman] about ideas he had for technology that I thought we could turn into a business. And one in particular that I really liked was ordering food from your mobile phone so you wouldn’t have to wait in line. That was the one I got really hung up on, I really liked that one. I told him we could make a business out of it. We started here in Charlottesville, and spent about a year building it, and then we got a chance to interview at Y Combinator.
There were a bunch of fortuitous things that happened along the way—you’ll just have to read my book to find out about them. [Winks]
We interviewed at Y Combinator for the first round of YC ever. That night they rejected us.
So the next morning we were hung over on the train ride back to Virginia and Paul [Graham] calls my cellphone and says, “Listen. We like you guys but not your idea. So change your idea and we’ll let you in.”
After a year of building this company, we were ready to quit it. We went back to Boston and met with Paul for an hour to see what we could work on. It was 2005, so there were no smartphones, there was no App Store, so there was nowhere for this app idea that we had. He said, “Just make something on the Web, because you can build there and solve a problem you guys have.” Steve was using Slashdot all the time, and I was just using a few websites. Neither one of us felt like we had the solution to what was going on in the world.
To Paul’s credit, he coined it. He’s like, “You guys need to make the front page of the Internet. And we’re like, “Well that’s ambitious, but okay.”
The only thing we’d finished when we had started Y Combinator was the mascot, and I was convinced I wanted to call it Reddit. Steve and Paul needed a little more convincing.
We got building, and I would mock stuff up in PaintShop Pro 5. I actually saved some of the mockups; it’s pretty embarrassing. We would sort of fight over features that would actually make it to the live site. Three weeks later we launched and put it online. We started getting our first users, like bugging our friends to use the site. And it just went from there.
RW: Speaking of mascots, my editor wanted to know: Why are your mascots so cute?
AO: I don’t know, I like cute things. I don’t think I would consider myself a designer; I think I’m maybe a mascot designer. I’m pretty proud of that. All of these are consumer-facing businesses. The thinking is: We are simple people, we have lots of distractions.
I hope the people with the Reddit alien tattoos never regret them. I’ve met quite a few of those people and it’s really awesome. I haven’t seen any Hipmunk or Breadpig tattoos yet.
It helps because it personifies the brand and sort of personifies the company. With Hipmunk, I think it was even more valuable because it’s an anti-social product. With Hipmunk, you’re sitting there booking a flight, which really sucks, looking for a hotel, which really sucks, so it’s not social at all. Having a mascot was a way for people to say “Oh look it’s cute and happy and trying to fly!” It provides a little bit of mirth to an otherwise bland experience.
The Secret Of My Success
RW: So, apart from the adorable mascot, what do you think drove the success of Reddit?
AO: I don’t know. There were a lot of things. I mean, obviously luck played a role in it. Also, Steve and I hadn’t heard of Digg until after we launched.
I emailed Steve and Paul with the subject line: “Meet the Enemy” and the body was “digg.com.” I had obviously not done a very good job with the competitive analysis, and we had this competitor that had been out for seven months, had raised funding, had a tech celebrity founder.
But it was so helpful because there were half-dozen Digg clones basically just copying Digg, and they had all died because they weren’t doing anything innovative, they were just straight up copying. Because we were ignorant, we built a very different platform.
We built a platform for online communities. User-created subreddits was the growth strategy, and by month two we had decided that was how we were going to grow. We actually thought for a while Digg was going to copy user-created subreddits. If they had, they might still be around, because they had a much larger audience for the first five years. They were the darlings of the tech press. We were never covered in TechCrunch until the day we got acquired.
It always pains me when founders are always trying so hard to get TechCrunch launches, as if that will make or break your company.
We just started building it and thought, this is the way things should work. The way the front page worked, the way the commenting and voting system all worked, that was different from anything else online in the way we brought it all together. Ultimately, these created subreddits.
We have a subreddit right now that talks entirely about Mexican politics. I have no idea what they’re talking about, and even if I was better at Spanish I still wouldn’t know because it’s so cultural and so local. Just like the Brony communities have their own jokes and references. Every one of these subreddits has its own community. There is no way we would have grown to 70 million unique visitors if we were trying to be one front page for everyone.
I mentioned luck was the very first thing, and that undoubtedly plays a role too. As much as I want to give the mascots all the credit.
RW: Had you done a better competitive analysis and found Digg, would you have still moved forward?
AO: That’s a good question. I don’t know. Well, we probably would have, only because we had an advisor like Paul at Y Combinator. His response to the email was, “Don’t worry. Competitors will always defeat themselves before they defeat you, or you’ll defeat yourself before they do.”
I’m sure that’s what he would have said had we learned about them sooner. But don’t get me wrong, as a 22-year-old fresh out of college it was frustrating. It took a lot to keep myself from caring.
That’s exactly the kind of thing that I worry turns some founders away, and that’s why I can’t help but bring up how important it is to just not care about your competitors. Incumbents are rarely a threat. It’s always going to be some upstart that’s drinking your milkshake. It’s not going to be someone who’s already in the market.
For Love Or Money
RW: What’s been your biggest accomplishment?
AO: I don’t know. I adopted a cat. I was going to name her Upvote, but that was downvoted by my girlfriend.
I really try not to celebrate this stuff very long. It took six months for us to get our first press. Bizarrely, it was from the Guardian. A British newspaper was the first major publication, including tech blogs, to ever write about Reddit. From that point on, I always sent it home to my parents because I didn’t really want to think about it. I try not to dwell on any of this stuff.
Alexander Graham Bell can’t walk around—well he’s dead, but—he couldn’t walk around thinking, “Oh man, every single life-changing phone call, I saved every one of those lives!” Any Twitter founder would be an idiot for claiming credit for the Arab Spring. People are the ones who have been always doing these amazing things, but haven’t necessarily had a platform that scaled them to the rest of the world like there is now. Reddit is one of those mechanisms on that platform.
I want to keep striving for something that I can be more proud of in the future. Maybe one day that will be having awesome kids, but there’s obviously another part of that equation I still need to figure out. I’m trying to teach my cat how to sit, which will be amazing if I can pull it off.
AO: At the end of the day, people are the ones responsible for the great stuff, and all the not-so-great stuff.
The vast majority of the time it’s benign or good. It’s either just a random cat photo, or it’s a really amazing thing like sending pizza to a bunch of kids recovering from chemotherapy. For all of history and all of humanity’s future, there will be well-intentioned people that when they are told by an authority like the FBI that they are looking for leads, there will be people who are going to try and help.
Casualties Of War
This is one instance that I would argue most of the actors were well intentioned. When asked by the FBI to assist, they did so in a way that was ultimately really off. It’s something we’re still trying to figure out. The New York Times Magazine did a really thorough breakdown of the actual timeline of everything that happened over that period. A couple of journalists tweeted out corroborating tweets that were taken at a whole new different level of legitimacy.
What set things off was a random person on Twitter that created a fake account with a pseudonym tweeted out, “I just heard on the Boston Police scanner that this person is a suspect.” And that random tweet from some random person whose account has since been deleted was what really set things off.
So it’s really tough because I don’t care what the social media platform is, whether it’s Reddit, Twitter or Facebook, you are ultimately going to have people who use this soapbox inappropriately, whether it’s intentional or not. I’m happy that Reddit has formally made a policy of not doing this.
It was really interesting, there was this satirical one that went up that wasn’t actually identifying people. Basically, it was a social commentary on what happened after the Navy Yard shooting. What was so disappointing for me was that all of the media outlets that covered it covered it as actually legitimate, just so they could wag their finger and be like, “Look at that! They’re at it again!”
If they had just taken a minute to actually read what was on there, they would have noticed it was satire. I think we all have to be careful, but especially people who are professionals, you’re not making a very good case when you’re not even taking the time to find out it’s not true, because you’re so excited to get 100,000 page views out of this post wagging your finger.
We are in a new territory that we have never experienced before. But there is a vast amount of evidence out there that the majority of things people use social media for is either benign or good. There’s an onus on us to be good stewards of this, but there’s only so much that all we can do. You can’t blame the USPS for junk mail.
RW: How do you feel when you see news organizations citing sources on Reddit?
AO: I’m mostly happy because they’re actually citing it. Because for years, so many newsrooms blatantly ripped their content off it, I’m just happy they’re citing it. Instead they would just harvest it and not actually link back or give any attribution.
There are instances when the Reddit platform becomes a source of primary information. Every day there’s another celebrity. Like, Madonna comes on for an amazing AMA, and Snoop Lion shows up. Of course I get my Google News alert the next day, and there are a dozen blogs that have pulled “The Top 5 Things From Madonna’s AMA.” It’s wild. I’m the dude that spent six months just trying to get anyone to care about Reddit, and now I just get excited when anyone attributes Reddit. But there is still a ways to go.
Reddit is a truly global platform. 70 million people is great, but I want the Mexican politics subreddit to be the place for people to go to find out about Mexican politics. I want the Mexican politics satire subreddit to be the Mexican Daily Show equivalent. Just the fact there is a subreddit where people are just debating, and discussing and laughing about Mexican politics all in one place right now is just cool.
That’s the kind of thing you can only hope for when it’s you and your buddy Steve in an apartment in Bedford, Mass., staring at each other every morning listening to Gwen Stafani’s Holla Back girl, which we did. We only hoped that one day the platform would have arrived and gotten to that point.
RW: Who is the most interesting person you’ve had for an AMA?
Snoop Lion’s was amazing. I was pleasantly surprised by Ethan Hawke’s. The President of the United States is pretty freaking cool. The one who we’re trying to get now is Putin. I would have loved Edward Snowden, I was really disappointed he wouldn’t do it.
Back To The Future
RW: So, you founded a couple of companies online, and it’s been a few years between them. Do you think it’s harder or easier to start an online company, especially a social site, in today’s world?
AO: It’s definitely harder. Particularly user-generated content or a social media site. Just because the market is already so saturated with things vying for our attention, that just didn’t exist back then.
Right now you’re already competing for people’s attention with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Frontback (I guess is the new thing), there’s a lot.
And there’s always going to be another breakout every year that’s the new thing, and we’ll say “Oh, how did we live without this?”. But that is a hard route to take because you have to make such a compelling case to have done something so new because a lot of it has to come down to this timing, and a kind of serendipity.
RW: What is your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?
AO: The best part is the flexible schedule. It’s such a cliché, that feeling that you’ve never worked a day in your life. Don’t get me wrong, I get up some mornings and I’m exhausted. But the flexibility and the freedom of it, I can never go back.
RW: And the worst part?
AO: Is there a worst part? The curse part of it. I have a lot of trouble with the boundaries between working and not working. But it’s something I always work on. In the beginning, when you’re worried about having money in the bank, the weight of it emotionally is really draining. You wake up in the morning and think your company is going to take over the world or go out of business. That’s the thing that most entrepreneurs have to deal with. And I’m lucky because of the success that I’ve had. It provides a certain amount of safety and comfort.
The reason I’m doing 150 stops on my book tour is because college students and recent graduates have the most freedom because they have the least to lose. And most of them don’t have dependents; most of them have this one opportunity in their lives when they have the least amount of external pressure and responsibility.
We were lucky when we started as founders and graduated, we never knew what it was like to have vacation time or a good salary. We never knew what that was like so we never knew what we were missing. As long as we had beer and pizza, we could start a company.
RW: A little different than being a lawyer, I imagine.
AO: Oh, yeah.
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Reddit is cleaning house, sweeping some of its less savory elements under the carpet as it spiffs the place up.
On Wednesday, Reddit management via blog post shook up the social news and community site by demoting site subsections devoted to discussion of atheism and politics from Reddit’s front-page menu bar. In their place are now subsections—known to Reddit regulars as “subreddits”—devoted to animated GIFs, TV shows and books, and high quality images of landscapes and animals (otherwise known as /r/Earthporn).
The effect was to subtly but effectively sanitize a site largely known to the general population for launching viral videos and organizing witch hunts over suspected Boston Marathon bombers. The “default” subreddits that populate the front-page menu bar basically set the tone for casual users when they visit the main site. (Registered users can customize the default subreddits and so are largely unaffected by the change.)
Here’s how the official blog post explained the changes:
We know many of you will wonder what happened to /r/politics and /r/atheism and why they were removed from the default set. We could give you a canned corporate answer or a diplomatic answer that is carefully crafted for the situation. But since this is reddit, we’re going to try things a bit differently and give you the real answer: they just weren’t up to snuff. Now, don’t get us wrong, there still ARE good parts about them. Overall, they just haven’t continued to grow and evolve like the other subreddits we’ve decided to add.
Critics have complained about the front page subreddits for years now, and both /r/atheism and /r/politics are great—OK, to be more precise, terrible—examples of the more controversial, combative, dramaful and troll-infested side of Reddit. This YouTube video, now nearing one million views, pretty accurately portrays the level of discourse on /r/atheism.
“I hope the new front page is more inviting in the sense that it shows off the variety of content reddit has,” Martin told me in a private chat, after declining to elaborate on what /r/atheism and /r/politics not being “up to snuff” meant.
Martin, who identifies as an atheist but says he was raised by his Southern Methodist grandma, went on to tout /r/Earthporn as “part of the the ‘SFW porn network’, a huge network of subreddits” known for high quality images and great discussion. Then he talked up /r/television as a “sort of a gateway into all the different specific tv subreddits.” Ah, the mass appeal of TV shows, pretty pictures and GIFS. Who’d be offended by that?
So far, the redditors over at /r/earthporn have, as you’d expected, responded positively to the news and are preparing themselves for an influx of new users. Over on /r/atheism, the mood was more sober as users reflected as to why they were kicked from the main page.
“The community here has ranged from juvenile to patently awful, and hopefully a smaller, sleeker /r/atheism will result from this,” one top commenter wrote. Another, who’s been around since the beginning of the subreddit, described its downfall:
Thoughtful self-posts stopped being the majority or even close to the majority of posts. Advice-Animal type memes became the rule rather than the exception. And worst of all? Anger and disdain toward anyone with religious beliefs became common and even celebrated.
Are these individuals describing the danger of becoming too popular, or the damaging nature of self-isolating communities? Maybe both.
Martin said he wasn’t sure what effect this relatively minor front page change—the first of many, mentioned the official blog post—will have on Reddit’s community and character. If anything, he told me, it will increase the chances “for various smaller politics subreddits to rise,” opening up more room for diversity of opinion on the site—diversity that, right now, is lacking. Here’s to that hope, too.
Lead image via Flickr user Eva Blue, CC 2.0
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In Front Media's Tips on How to Survive Google's 2012 Updates in 2013
San Francisco Chronicle
For a Web Design company, an SEO Service or even a website owner, surviving the algorithm updates Google has included over the last year, has been a full-time job plus overtime, trying to keep up with all the algorithm changes. In Front Media knows …
Small Businesses can get a free 'SEO Survival Guide'
5 Easy Ways to Improve Your SEO Before the New Year
The Beginner's Guide to Keyword Research Using Free Tools
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Front Page PR Unveils $100 per Page SEO Service for Small Businesses; Digital
AUSTIN, TX — (Marketwire) 10/08/12 — Front Page PR (www.frontpagepr.com) announced an affordable search engine optimization (SEO) marketing package to help small businesses make the second most important investment after building a preliminary …
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Connecticut SEO Firm Takes NY Lawyer to Google Front Page in 1 Month
Connecticut SEO Firm Takes NY Lawyer to Google Front Page in 1 Month. Industry: Web Design. Connecticut SEO Kim Ronemus Design propels its client, a Manhattan attorney, from page 15 to page 1 in Google search results in under one month.
SEO.org.uk reviews the role of Author Rank in SEO
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If you can stand out by creating great content and essentially pitch to more than 5 million potential customers with a single online video posted to YouTube, surely that’s far more efficient than any other sales activity is likely to be.
View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest
When Australian retailer Kogan.com enacted a “tax” on customers using Internet Explorer 7 last week, it may not have been trying to become the poster child for worldwide Web-developer frustration with Microsoft browsers. But the stunt seems to have tapped into a seething undercurrent of animosity for Internet Explorer that could bring new combatants to the ongoing browser wars.
What Is an IE Tax?
Russell Kogan, owner of the Kogan.com site, announced the 6.8% surcharge Wednesday for any goods purchased on Kogan.com by users still surfing with IE 7. Kogan’s admonishment was tongue-in-cheek, but his motivation was based on serious economic considerations.
“The way we’ve been able to keep our prices so low is by using technology to make our business efficient and streamlined. One of the things stopping that is our Web team having to spend a lot of time making our new website look normal on IE7,” Kogan wrote.
Kogan’s post, and the message dialog that pops up for users who arrive at the site using IE 7, make it very clear that all that’s needed to avoid the “tax” is a simple upgrade to a newer version of IE – or another browser altogether. But his call for even lighthearted punitive action is underpinned by a very real issue that seems to be gaining traction within Web development circles: a deep and abiding loathing for any version of Internet Explorer.
Why Developers Won’t Support IE Anymore
This hatred of IE is starting to manifest in wholesale rejection of the browser, as many developers begin to refuse to support IE features on their websites. In most cases, the reason is the time and effort that has to be invested to properly deal with IE’s nonstandard ways of rendering Web pages.
Greek Web developer Lea Verou eloquently described the magnitude of the problem last Fall:
“If we choose to make a website pixel-perfect in Internet Explorer 6 to 8, then we are doing up to 100% more work. No matter how many frameworks, polyfills and other scripts we use to ease our pain, we will always be doing at least 30% more work for those browsers,” Verou wrote. “How many of us actually charge 30-100% extra for this work?”
Verou’s solution to the problem of dealing with IE Web development is to actually tack on a surcharge of her own.
IE 7 Costs Developers Money
“I don’t do much client work these days, but every time I’ve taken on a client project in my career, I’ve always presented options for browser support to my client. They want pixel perfection in IE 7? It will cost them more. They want IE 6 support? It will cost double,” she wrote.
Some Web developers have gone even further. Toronto-based startup 4ormat outright refuses to let any IE user sign in to their site. Co-founder Tyler Rooney outlined the online portfolio service provider’s 2008 decision to block IE this past April, citing Verou’s earlier estimates of the effort needed for IE Web development:
“Within a week it was painfully obvious that for every great idea we came up with we had to create equally terrible hacks to support IE7 or even IE8. Supporting variants of IE can easily increase design work by 30% to 100%, but complex features can easily double (or even triple) development time. It doesn’t take many developer salaries before this ‘IE tax’ can cost you well over $100,000,” Rooney wrote this spring.
Not unexpectedly, Rooney was generally positive about Kogan.com’s IE “tax.”
“I think Kogan’s decision is definitely a novel way to educate their customers about the perils of using an out-of-date Web browser,” Rooney commented in an email today.
“When we decided to not support any version of Internet Explorer back in 2008 it was a simple business decision. Not supporting browsers which our target market weren’t even using enabled us to ship a better product in a shorter period of time,” Rooney added. “Kogan mentioned that he doesn’t expect anyone to pay the tax so I’d suspect that their decision won’t have much of an effect on revenue. Kogan probably also came to the same conclusion that we did about all the other benefits that come with not supporting out-of-date browsers: huge productivity gains, shorter release cycles and happier employees.”
Good News for Chrome and Firefox?
If this sentiment against IE continues to gain traction, Microsoft could be facing a sharper migration away from one of its flagship products to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
It’s clear that the browser wars of old are taking a very new turn: Web developers are no longer rolling over and letting a single vendor dictate how websites are put together. Real standards, not just ones for which Microsoft lobbies, seem to be the order of the day.
And if developers aren’t satisfied with a browser, they are now unafraid to fight back.
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