If you run a business that's active online, or are involved in digital marketing in any way, chances are you've done business with a startup before.
No big deal, right? After all, today's hot startup could be tomorrow's Apple or Google, and even if it isn't, there's no denying that startups are a driving force behind innovation.
But should you always trust a startup? Are there times when joining forces with one is a bad idea?
Rebuilding trust with your customers isn't easy following a major
crisis. Sadly, relationships that take years to build can be harmed or
destroyed entirely practically overnight.
Alibaba, the Chinese business-to-business marketplace that Yahoo owns a
substantial chunk of, is the latest company to learn that lesson the hard way.
Last week the author Malcolm Gladwell poured cold water on the idea that revolution could be instigated by social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
He centres his argument around the American civil rights movement, claiming that the strong bonds forged offline were required to spark action in the streets, where millions ultimately gathered in the 60s to protest against segregation and oppression. Social media, by contrast, forges only “weak ties”, says Gladwell. Not the kind of bonds required to make a difference where it really counts.
I think he’s completely missing the point. Martin Luther King’s status updates and tweets would have helped to spread awareness quickly, encouraging activism, had Facebook and Twitter been available in his day. You can bet your life he'd have used them to spread word.
A connected world cannot be a bad thing for change, in whatever form it takes.
Today saw the launch of Zara's first (and long awaited) e-commerce site in the UK and, for users of Google's Chrome browser, it isn't looking good, with error messages all over the site:
Chrome may not be the most popular browser, but it is still used by up to 10% of web users, and has been growing market share rapidly, so this seems to be a major oversight.
The social graph is something that the digital world is struggling to understand right now. How important are the connections within your digital social circle? Who are the most important connectors in your graph? How far does influence travel online?
Well, according to a study from Invoke Solutions, it's still real world friends that hold the most sway with consumers online. And while Facebook has made a niche for itself by fostering online relationships between people who are friends or know each other offline, on Twitter there could be trust issues.
You've worked hard building a strong relationship between your business and its customers. They trust that your products and services meet their needs, and more importantly, they trust the people who work for your business.
But what happens when you make a mistake, and that relationship based on trust is put in jeopardy?
Unfortunately, it happens, and it happens quite frequently. Many companies, some with previously stellar reputations, have lost the trust of their customers in the blink of an eye.
The rise of social networking services like Facebook has created
significant digital privacy concerns. And new geolocation-based
services like Foursquare are creating a whole host of new concerns.
But privacy doesn't necessarily have to be a touchy subject for today's
most prominent social networks. Prominent venture capitalist Fred
Wilson, whose firm has invested in Twitter and Foursquare, thinks that there may actually be an opportunity for companies
to charge their users for additional privacy safeguards.
Online florist Arena Flowers recently fell foul of Norton, with its SafeWeb product flagging its website as unsafe for users due to an issue with the site's WordPress blog.
The problem was fixed promptly by Arena Flowers, but the process of contacting Norton and getting the warnings removed was far from perfect, and could have had a serious effect its sales and reputation.
Last week, popular reviews site Yelp announced that it had teamed up
with OpenTable to offer Yelp users the ability to book restaurant
reservations through OpenTable directly on the Yelp site.
A Yelp-OpenTable relationship is one that some have speculated about
for some time now, and given that 29% of the businesses reviewed on
Yelp are restaurants, the integration between the two services seems like a no-brainer.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may be the most successful 26 year-old technology entrepreneur in the world right now, but he sure isn't making it look easy. His company finds itself being attacked for its position on user privacy, and the attacks have turned personal.
While Zuckerberg's character has been called into question before, the increased scrutiny on Facebook seems to be producing a steady stream of facts that don't show Zuckerberg in the best light.