AIM Mail Widgets: Webmail Finally Growing Up

I logged into my AIM mail account today. That’s not something I do frequently. However, if these new widgets I found waiting for me are any indication of future development, I may be giving AIM (how about AOL Mail?) a second look.

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AOL is famous for having been a walled-garden portal in the past. However, as I wrote last week, AOL is really on the ball with the whole spirit of the open web by introducing ways to bring in content from such places (competitors?) as Yahoo Mail, GMail, Twitter, Facebook, etc on the main AOL homepage, which does millions of impressions every month.

And the results from this newfound embracing of openness are more engagement, more pageviews and more attention. AOL is on to something.

With these new widgets in AIM mail, you can integrate Yahoo Mail, contacts, AIM, AOL Finance, Mapquest, etc within your inbox. GMail has this same feature with its Labs platform, so it’s good to see competition there. The trick with AIM is that they are bringing in properties from outside the AOL universe (unless the AIM Mail team knows something about a Yahoo/AOL deal that we don’t). Nifty.

However, my main question is if this is a sign of the future? Will you eventually be able to update Twitter or your Facebook status (or send Facebook messages) within AIM or AOL mail as you can on the AOL home page? If so, that will be very compelling. Will I ditch GMail for AIM even if that happens? Perhaps not, but I will definitely take a second look at my AOL/AIM mail.

It’s time for web-based email clients to grow up and become platforms instead of proprietary gardens of in-house developers. I’m glad to see AOL is helping to make that happen.

How Not to Do B2B Marketing on Facebook

 

I’m sure Michelle is a nice person, but pitches like this (blasted out to a number of people) on social networks don’t work and only result in unfriending and avoidance.  I’m getting more and more of these on Facebook lately and they are much more annoying than “vampire bites” or “Funwall notices”…

pitchfail

“Hi!

We’ve launched a brand new FREE perfume/cologne club today. Please check it out as you can now try before you buy with ScentByMe.

Click here:

http://www.xxx.xxx

Also, forward to your friends who would like to be scent-sational!

Michelle”

Again, I’m not picking on Michelle, but people need to realize that these sorts of failpitches only damage your program.  If you’re going to pitch me like this on Facebook/Twitter/Flickr/etc, at least get to know me (so then I can tell you where to go after you pitch me like that).

As someone said on our social media marketing panel at Affiliate Summit in February, you wouldn’t walk into a dinner party where you didn’t know everyone and start pitching your Tupperware.  Apply that to social networks and oh the places you’ll go.  

 

Leveraging Social Media in Affiliate Marketing

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I’m doing a solo presentation on the Sunday of https://www.fusionquest.com/cgi-bin/main/hotlinks.cgi?aflt=afc1&client=affsumAffiliate Summit East in Boston about how to use “social” media in the context affiliate marketing.

My opening line is “you probably know of and maybe use Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, FriendFeed, Google Reader and Ning, but you are probably using them wrong if you’re connecting them with your affiliate program…”

I’ve got a rough sketch of how the rest of the hour will go, but I’d like to make sure I cover the bases you’d like covered. So, comment (or email, call, twitter, etc) below and let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like to hear about using social media in an affiliate program.

Affiliate Summit East 2008 Agenda: “Leveraging Social Media
Location: Harborview Ballroom 1
Time: 1:30pm-2:30pm

(This Session is Open to Full Conference Pass Holders Only)
This session helps affiliate marketers, networks and merchants recognize the power of adapting and adopting social media platforms into their programs for increased traffic, conversions and profit.

* Sam Harrelson, Director of Performance Marketing, Motive Interactive”

For instance, I’ve got close to 2,500 people following me on Twitter and the platform provides a nice stream of passive and active traffic (when Twitter is up). However, I don’t just throw affiliate or even site links up to get that traffic. There are very specific and practical steps that you can take to be a productive part of a community like Twitter and still derive benefits.

So, let me know what you’d like to hear…

Google’s Friend Connect and Long Tail Marketing

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This is interesting. Basically, sometime tonight you’ll be able to grab a snippet of code and install it on your site/blog allowing you to combine that site with your activities in various social networks…

Google Press Center: News Announcement: “Websites that are not social networks may still want to be social — and now they can be, easily. With Google Friend Connect (see http://www.google.com/friendconnect following this evening’s Campfire One), any website owner can add a snippet of code to his or her site and get social features up and running immediately without programming — picking and choosing from built-in functionality like user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, and reviews, as well as third-party applications built by the OpenSocial developer community.”

Here are some of the more “long tail” implications of Friend Connect:

“Google Friend Connect is about helping the ‘long tail’ of sites become more social,” said David Glazer, a director of engineering at Google. “Many sites aren’t explicitly social and don’t necessarily want to be social networks, but they still benefit from letting their visitors interact with each other. That used to be hard. Fortunately, there’s an emerging wave of social standards — OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial, and the data access APIs published by Facebook, Google, MySpace, and others. Google Friend Connect builds on these standards to let people easily connect with their friends, wherever they are on the web, making ‘any app, any site, any friends’ a reality.”

And here are the immediate benefits possible:

Without requiring coding experience, Google Friend Connect gives site owners a way to attract and engage more people by giving visitors a way to connect with friends on their websites.

Drive traffic: people who discover interesting sites can bring their friends with them, and can opt-in to publish their activities on those sites back into their social network, attracting even more visitors.

Increase engagement: access to friends and OpenSocial applications provides more interesting content and richer social experiences.

Less work: any site can have social components without hiring a programming team or becoming a social network.

I see this as the culmination of the widget craze that swept the online world in 2007 and a way to start bringing in tangible benefits for website owners and bloggers. In other words, the more efficient back-and-forth between social networks and sites/blogs will only increase traffic and exposure for both (if the person behind them is interesting, relevant or adds something to the viewers’ lives).