Blogger Andrew Trench recently presented a theory on the threshold of when Internet penetration starts to matter, writing:
Social networks have also been given plenty of credit for the revolution unfolding in Egypt.
So I went and had a look at the numbers over on www.internetworldstats.com to see what they could tell us about these two scenarios. Well, fascinatingly, both Egypt and Tunisia have seen a massive growth in internet users and internet penetration over the last 10 years.
Both have now got internet penetration of over 20% and in Tunisia's case it was as high as 34%.
While it is clearly simplistic to over-state this factor and there must be many more drivers contributing to such a rapid political uprising, it is obviously a factor as evidenced by the Egyptian regime pulling the plug on the country's internet access to try and block the rising tide of revolt.
My back-of-napkin theory is this: that a rapid increase in internet penetration in a repressive regime does play an important role as it provides an unfettered channel of communication allowing disaffected citizens to share views - and more importantly - to rapidly organise and mobilise.
If Egypt and Tunisia are valid case studies, it looks like internet penetration of around 20% is the mark.
Geopolitics & Macroeconomics adds:
Internet penetration: Social networking sites were critical to sustaining the momentum in the recent protests. The internet penetration in Egypt is 16%. In Libya, it is a meagre 5% . The unrest in Libya has thus far remained concentrated in regions that are geographically distant from the seat of ‘real' power (see more on this below). The dependence of momentum on internet communication is far greater in Libya than in Egypt where protests began in Cairo itself.
Taking the conversation to Pakistan, Sabene Saigol writes, on BrandRepublic:
Perhaps one reason for this is that we're still not that used to communicating via the ‘net - maybe we need greater broadband and internet penetration. Personally I think it is more to do with culture - while Pakistani internet users are savvy to using social media to connect with friends, I feel they have not yet ‘crossed over' to seeing SM as a means for professional communications - or even wider social communications that go beyond their immediate circle. Yes, there are no doubt savvy people - both within marketing and tech circles, and outside - however, these people are likely a tiny proportion of the total number of ‘net and social media users.
A few years ago, the Internet experienced a video revolution. As broadband access expanded and more people began uploading content, video became an expected resource for consumers. Businesses could get more mileage out of television commercials and engage users by linking to video reviews of its products.
A year ago, we saw evidence of small and medium-sized business increasing budgets for video content – to be used both on their homepages and in advertisements. In 2009, 19% of businesses polled were using video (up from 5% in 2008) and I’m willing to bet that number will be much higher in the 2010 report that should come out later this month.
Now, as technology has become more affordable and increasingly mobile, we’re able to experience virtually anything online. As such, local search engines are evolving into master content synthesizers to meet the needs of consumers and advertisers alike – offering video and photos, local advertising deals, user reviews, QR codes, maps and directions, etc.
Consumer expectations of local search engines have never been higher. Users want to see photo and video reviews of a company’s products, read what other people have to say, and even take a virtual tour of your store or restaurant before they visit.
The same is true of small- and medium-sized business owners looking to find a competitive advantage. Local search engines are offering more dynamic content than ever before to users and it’s up to search marketers to help business owners feed that content.
It’s interesting to see how video content has changed since the advent of YouTube. Instead of traditional video advertising, we’re seeing new technology that lets users look around your business from their own home. Soon, we’ll be able to find virtual creations of almost any environment online – and those virtual tours are being integrated with current deals and other advertising promotions to drive traffic to your business.
Recently, a company called EveryScape partnered with Bing and YP to offer digital advertisers a new local search solution – virtual tours. For example, YP360 will let a user step inside a restaurant in Baltimore while they’re still on the train. They can choose a place and even set a reservation, all within the same application on their phone.
Google Earth has gone indoors and local search engines are responsible for bringing this detailed and vivid content to users while keeping it simple and accessible. And the business case for offering this new content to users and advertisers alike is clear as local advertising is expected to grow to $16.1 billion this year, up from $13.7 billion in 2010.
Even more, mobile phone advertising spending is expected to be more than a billion dollars in 2011, up 48% from 2010. Local search engines like YP and Yelp! are seeing over 20 million visitors a month, many of them accessing via mobile phones.
This is a great opportunity for local search engines and advertisers to embrace this new technology and get ahead of the pack. Effective local advertising goes beyond building a social networking presence and listing in directories – you have to make sure your content is engaging. In the online world, the savviest local search marketers who use this technology well will have the most successful campaigns.
I recommend that any business owner or local search marketer read up on the latest digital advertising solutions and consider offering your customers virtual tours of your products or store. To set your business apart, you need to stay current with the best that local search has to offer.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.
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For Apple, the mobile market is a cash cow. The company’s iPhone and iPad are proving to be the top mobile companions for people around the globe. Apple has sold over 100 million iPhones. Its iPad sales have hit 15 million. The company understands the mobile market and it knows how to capitalize on it.
But what about the living room? It has the Apple TV, sure, and the Mac mini is often times connected to an HDTV, but what else has Apple done to push the envelope in the living room? It still hasn’t launched the long-rumored television we keep hearing about, and it seems that offering a game console — a hope for many Apple fans over the past few years — won’t happen.
I fully realize that Apple can’t be everything to every customer. It delivers computers, smartphones, tablets, personal media players, two operating systems, wireless routers, and much more. But I also realize that Apple is an entertainment company. It’s about trying to give people more opportunity to enjoy their lives through technology. And it would only make sense if it doubled down on the living room.
Let’s turn our attention to the Apple TV for a minute.
Prior to its announcement in September, rumors were running rampant over what the former “hobby” would offer. Folks thought it would deliver gaming, interface with DVRs, include Apple’s App Store, and much more. They thought it would be a sizable update over its predecessor.
Instead, Apple offered a stripped-down alternative.
The second-generation Apple TV comes with the ability for users to stream Netflix content. It has Flickr and Internet radio. And it allows users to stream their music over their home network to their televisions. It offers movies and television shows, as well, but most would agree that it’s slim pickings for now.
At that event in September, Steve Jobs said that Apple’s research showed customers didn’t want everything a company could pile into a device. They simply want the ability to consume the content they enjoy without the fuss that might come along with something like Google TV-based devices.
But by delivering the bare minimum, Apple did itself no favors. The company took the easy way out and pretended like it no longer views the living room as a hobby. The only issue is, the Apple TV is still a hobby. It’s a device that lacks all the functionality we’ve come to expect from Apple — a company that typically prides itself on offering the best value for the cash. And at least so far, it leaves me wanting more.
So, what am I looking for? I want to see Apple improve the Apple TV by bringing its App Store to the platform. I’d also like to see some kind of gaming component come to the device, either through the App Store or as part of a more-capable platform.
And perhaps most importantly, I’d like to see Apple think beyond its set-top box and deliver products that try something new. I’m not sold on the possibility of Apple offering a groundbreaking television, but if it can surprise me, I’m all for it.
Simply put, I’m looking for Apple to be Apple. Right now, it’s just like every other company in the living room; it’s content to have a presence but not dominate.
That needs to end.
No single company can stake claim to the living room right now. Steve Jobs just needs to take advantage of that void and do something special.
But first, he needs to take the living room — and its revenue potential — seriously.
In February of 2007, 83.24 percent of users visiting TechCrunch did so from a Windows machine. One year later, in February 2008, the stranglehold remained firm at 80.44 percent. In February 2009, the number was at 74.04 percent. Last year, it was 61.59 percent. And this year? The number of people visiting our site from Windows machines dipped to 53.84 percent.
The writing is on the wall.
Look at those numbers again for a second. In four years, Windows share among TechCrunch readers has fallen 30 percentage points. That’s incredible.
The knee-jerk reaction in the comment section will likely be something like “it’s because you guys cover Apple so much”. But the fact of the matter is that Macintosh share, after rising for three of those four years, fell last year as well. It’s the mobile devices — specifically the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices — that are eating away at Windows.
In fact, if the trend over the past four years continues at about the same pace, in two years, devices made by Apple (Macs, iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads) will surpass devices that run Windows as the top visitors to TechCrunch. And depending on how popular the iPad 2, iPhone 5, and OS X Lion are, it could easily happen next year.
Here are the broken down numbers:
- Windows: 83.24%
- Mac: 13.59%
- Linux: 2.51%
- Windows: 80.44%
- Mac: 15.15%
- Linux: 2.97%
- iPhone: 0.77%
- iPod: 0.15%
- Windows: 74.04%
- Mac: 20.48%
- Linux: 3.01%
- iPhone: 1.60%
- iPod: 0.28%
- Android: 0.09%
- Windows: 61.59%
- Mac: 28.62%
- iPhone: 4.07%
- Linux: 3.49%
- Android: 0.87%
- iPod: 0.53%
- Windows: 53.84%
- Mac: 27.64%
- iPhone: 6.72%
- iPad: 3.44%
- Linux: 3.28%
- Android: 3.06%
- iPod: 0.62%
While even the last batch of stats shows that Windows still has a nice cushion over number two, Mac, if you add the Apple products put together, it’s a different story.
- Feb 2007: 13.59% Apple products
- Feb 2008: 16.07% Apple products
- Feb 2009: 22.36% Apple products
- Feb 2010: 33.22% Apple products
- Feb 2011: 38.42% Apple products
In the four year span, Apple has added 25 percentage points to their share among TechCrunch readers. That nearly all of the 30 percentage points that Windows lost in that same span (Android’s growth pretty much fills in the rest).
So it currently stands at Microsoft’s 53.84 percent versus Apple’s 38.42 percent. Again, a big year for iPad, iPhone, and Mac could mean a changing of the guard as soon as next year. But unless something drastic changes, you can be sure that Apple will be dominant among TechCrunch readers in two years.
The latest rumors have Windows 8 showing up sometime in mid/late 2012. But the fact of the matter is that Windows 7, much more widely praised than the disaster that was Vista, hasn’t helped Microsoft buck this trend among our readers. Perhaps they’re only hope of gaining back share at this point is Windows Phone. So far, that hasn’t been going too well. Nokia should help that, but will it be enough to offset the Windows losses?
Humorously, Microsoft’s best hope for not falling to Apple may well be Android. If Google’s platform continues to make gains, it could prolong Apple passing Microsoft.
But again, Apple has iPhone 5, iPad 2, and OS X Lion on the immediate horizon — all within the next few months. And then there’s the very real possibility of another iPad in the fall.
The iPad 2 and iPhone 5 are likely to push the Apple share forward immediately. But don’t sleep on OS X Lion either. The early indications are that Apple has indeed made it much more iOS-like. That means millions of iPad/iPhone/iPod touch owners who have traditionally been PC users, are going to feel a lot more comfortable on a Mac than ever before.
And a new PC-to-Mac data migration system built in to Lion will only help that.
OS X Lion is going to feed off of iOS users, and vice versa. And the Mac ecosystem is going to continue to expand. Just as happened in the browser world with Chrome taking over, a transition is happening among TechCrunch readers in the ecosystem space. The numbers don’t lie. And Microsoft better pray that our readers aren’t leading indicators of overall trends in the space — which is exactly what you have been in the past.
In our second installment of The Business of Blogging, we speak to the uber-talented Tommy Ton, founder of Jak & Jil and streetstyle photographer for Style.com and GQ.com
PARIS, France — “It was the summer of 1997 and I was 13 years old,” recalls Tommy Ton, now 27, describing the moment when a self-professed comic book nerd from the suburbs of Toronto first became interested in fashion. “My sister asked me to record Fashion Television and all of a sudden Tom Ford comes on and talks about women, and his idea of sex. He was so eloquent in his choice of words. It was love at first sight.”
From that moment, Mr. Ton embarked on what has been described as a something of a fairytale, becoming the world’s most influential street style fashion photographer today. But achieving such success is rarely that simple — or easy.
More than just a skilled photographer with a good eye and encyclopedic knowledge of fashion, Ton has proven himself to be a savvy digital operator with a potent mixture of ambition, work ethic and strategic thinking that has enabled him to discover and hone in on his special talent. His humility throughout it all has endeared him not only to the stylish women he has made famous, but also to fellow fashion bloggers and his growing list of paying clients.
Yes, Tommy Ton is building a business, and he’s proud of it.
At first, Mr. Ton says he simply became infatuated with fashion. “I’d bike to the library, tear out ad campaigns, and make collages of Gucci and Versace,” he explains over dinner during Paris Fashion Week. At age 15, he interned with the Toronto designer Wayne Clark and then in the women’s accessories department of Holt Renfrew, Canada’s leading luxury department store.
From the beginning, Ton has been a fervent but charming networker, not afraid to approach and build relationships with the industry’s top players. “I made an effort so Barbara Atkin knew who I was,” he says, referring to the Holt Renfrew’s highly-respected fashion director. This ultimately landed him a gig in the store’s buying office, furthering his understanding of the fashion business, but still not quite sating his fashion appetite.
“I was there in the Summer of 2004 when web magazines first started popping up,” he says. Ton started taking classes in digital photography and met with friends who did graphic design, before deciding to start Jak & Jil, which was initially conceived in 2005 as a lifestyle website focused on the product and people in Toronto.
“Then my guardian angel came along,” says Ton, referring to Lynda Latner, proprietor of vintagecouture.com. “She hired me because she saw my site and thought I could help her.”
In 2007 when Latner offered to send Ton to Europe to attend the shows in London and Paris, he had his first opportunity to experiment with street photography during fashion week, a trend which was just beginning to take off due to the pioneering work of Scott Schuman and Garance Doré.
“My first show in Paris was Balmain. I had no idea what Balmain was at the time, or what it was going to be, but all the girls were in that that show, like Daria, Irina, and Anja, and they played the Cure on the soundtrack. As soon as that show was done, it was raining outside…and I was dancing in the rain. I just felt so uplifted. I could not believe what fashion could do for you,” recalls Ton nostalgically. “To have that moment in Paris, at your very first show…it was magical.”
Using his “Canadian connections,” Ton also managed to get into Chanel, YSL, Dries van Noten and Rick Owens that first season. But in all the excitement, Ton says he didn’t know who or what to shoot. “I just shot what I thought was visually amazing. I didn’t know who Emmanuelle Alt was, or Kate Lanphear or even Anna Dello Russo.”
Almost immediately after this first trip, the Canadian fashion media took note of Ton’s photography, beginning with Flare magazine editor Lisa Tant. “Because of that trip, I got a page in Flare which gave me a validated reason to go back,” he says.
By 2008 Ton was already seeking a way to stand out from the growing hordes of photographers outside the shows who were mostly aping Schuman’s photographic style. “I thought, ‘I’m so tired of taking head-to-toe shots. No one can touch Scott at those photos — he is the king.’ I wanted my photos to stand out. That’s when I stated taking the candid shots.”
Ton’s landscape-style images focused in on the little details that caught his well-trained fashion eye — a towering Louboutin stiletto here, a pop of colour there on his favourite subjects as they walked into the shows. He rarely asked them to pose. Ton was developing a photographic style that that has now become instantly recognisable as his own, capturing the raw energy and excitement of fashion week. Fellow blogger Tavi Gevinson later remarked, “You always know what a Tommy Ton photograph looks like.”
He re-purposed Jak and Jil into a blog, and started posting two or three of his new style of photographs each day. This caught the attention of influential bloggers like Susanna Lau of Style Bubble and Rumi Neely of Fashion Toast, who helped to spread the word.
Two and half months later, Ton received an email from the head of marketing at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, asking him to shoot their Spring/Summer 2009 campaign.
“I said yes, but I didn’t even know what my worth was,” says Ton. “After talking to my business friends in the industry, I threw a figure at Lane Crawford. It was a bit too much, but we negotiated, and I was proud of myself because I was able to get an amount that I was satisfied with and which they were willing to pay.”
With his reputation spreading, Ton’s confidence began to grow. “During the Fall/Winter 2009 season, people started to know who I was. Scott [Schuman] actually knew my work. I was officially blogging and shooting for Lane Crawford at the same time. That was the season I knew what I was doing, and I knew what I wanted to shoot. It was the beginning of something.”
Another important shift came the following season in Milan, when Ton was seated in Dolce & Gabbana’s front row, alongside Doré, Schuman and Bryanboy, an image that was plastered in the fashion media around the world, signalling the arrival of fashion bloggers. “That was a huge moment. It was all due to Anna Dello Russo. She was the one who told Domenico and Stefano: ‘These are the people who are changing things.’”
From then on, the front row tickets came in fast and furious. Everyone wanted Ton to shoot at their shows, knowing his images would be seen by thousands of fashion enthusiasts and influencers around the world. The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and others came calling. “They were emailing to buy photos,” he says.
Ton went from ultimate fashion outsider to insider almost overnight.
But the real turning point came a few weeks earlier when Style.com’s editor-in-chief Dirk Standen asked Ton to step into the formidable shoes of Scott Schuman, whose own photography career had gone stratospheric, in no small part due to the platform given to him by Style.com. Schuman had decided to leave Style.com to focus on other projects, and Ton now had the most high-profile streetstyle photography gig in the business.
“Being associated with Style.com is a huge deal for me. It’s what everyone looks at every day. People go to Style.com like you brush your teeth in the morning. It’s something you just do,” enthuses Ton.
By now, the time had come for Ton to seek professional representation. An introduction to elite agency The Collective Shift—which also represents top fashion photographers Inez and Vinoodh and super-stylist Melanie Ward—instantly felt like the right fit. Ton also signed on Trunk Archive to act as his image licensing agency, removing the burden of negotiating image rights and contracts on his own and dramatically increasing what he could earn from selling his images to the likes of American Vogue, Elle UK, and Vogue Nippon.
“Before, I was underselling myself, getting about $50-100 per image.” Today, Ton reports that he can earn from as little as $100 up to $2000. “The the thing I’ve learned is that you have to really consider whether it’s a one page image or a ½ page image or ¼ page image. It’s a really big deal when it’s one image over two pages in Grazia for example, whereas if it’s ⅛ of a page in Vogue, it is much less. I’m lucky to have Trunk Archive to deal with all that now.”
But image licensing only makes up about 30 percent of the revenue he earns. The remaining 70 percent comes from a variety of projects, including his gigs for Style.com, GQ.com, but also for retailers and brands such as Topshop, Selfridges, Sergio Rossi and Saks 5th Avenue.
Ton says he has made an intentional decision not to have advertising on his site. “It’s an association with your brand. I didn’t want my blog to be associated with any type of branding,” he explains.
But would he ever take pay for editorial placement on Jak & Jil itself? “Yes,” he says matter-of-factly. “But that requires a discussion between my agent, my client and me. The thing about the development of the Tommy Ton brand and the Jak & Jil brand is that everything is strategically selected and carefully monitored. We have to see potential growth in it, and understand what’s in it for us.”
When pressed on the criteria he uses for this kind of paid content, so as not to alienate his audience, he pauses to think. “It’s definitely gut instinct. It just has to be of the moment and relevant for the time.” His readers shouldn’t be able to tell the difference, he says, because the images he creates would be the kind he would post anyway. The standards are the same, and the images are just as powerful.
All the same, Tommy Ton also realizes this is his moment and it may not last forever. “I don’t even know if I will be able to earn the money I do now in a few years. I don’t know if I will be relevant or not. I am just lucky that people want to associate with me and their brand right now.”
And what about all that competition from the hundreds of streetstyle bloggers outside the shows? “You always have to stay on top of your game, and the only way to do that now is to have exclusive content,” he asserts. Recently, Ton has been invited to shoot behind-the-scenes at the Proenza Schouler studio and the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
“I’m not making any money from it, but it gives me access no one else would have. I take a lot of pride in that. I am so, so happy I am invited to do these things,” he says, recalling that 13 year old kid watching Tom Ford on TV back in Toronto. “In some ways I still feel like an outsider, even though I am acknowledged by these designers. I am still in awe of what is going on.”
Imran Amed is founder and editor of The Business of Fashion
The Business of Blogging is a new series on the rarely discussed business side of fashion blogging. Previous articles are listed below:
What is your social media brand? Do you have one? Sure, many small business owners and entrepreneurs are coming around to the enormous importance of social media as a marketing, customer service, and, yes, even sales tool. But if you haven’t thought about how social media can define your brand, you are probably missing a HUGE part of what social media tools can do for your business. Here’s more…
Tools & Techniques
Creating a great brand with these blog tools. Tools that improve the look and functionality of your blog also improve your brand. A well-maintained small business blog is one of the most obvious and least expensive branding tools at the entrepreneur’s disposal even more so than social media channels like Facebook and Twitter because of how a blog can be customized to fit your needs and personality. This list of tools is a great way to start. EpicLaunch
What Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi can teach you about social media. One of the stars of the hit reality show “Jersey Shore”, “Snooki” is a perfect example of personal brand, but social media entrepreneurs could also learn much about building their own online presence from Snooki. Being yourself and using a simple, short tag to indelibly brand your identity are also great techniques in social media. One site is already trying to apply the starlets techniques in the social media space. Brand-Yourself
Tito Philips doesn’t want your comments on his blog! At least, not if they’re the wrong kind. And the wrong kind would be comments left for no other purpose than to get the blogger and his/her readers to visit your blog and perhaps comment on it in return. Why is comment trading bad? Don’t get Tito started! There are many ways to engage in social media marketing. Be sure you understand and respect some of the attitudes you may face. Blogging Bookshelf
News & Trends
The best of the best. Want to get a look at arguably the 20 best Facebook fan pages for business on the planet? By now you should know the value of a Facebook fan page to your branding efforts. What’s also true, however, is that not all Facebook sites are created equal. If you want to take your social media marketing to the next level, have a look at this list of cream of the crop sites. Inc.com
Even churches use social media marketing! In this article on the growing market for tech services among religious organizations, we learn that many churches have also already entered into the social media space. As houses of worship, particularly huge mega-churches, expand and build congregations, it’s easy to see how social media can work as a marketing tool here as well. Is your religious organization using social media for branding? WSJ
Tips & Tricks
20 tips that will make you a Twitter star. Among the tools popular in the new digital space is Twitter. The microblogging platform can be used for business or non-business purposes and it can be the key to your small business’s success. Learn how to use Twitter like a pro and you may be surprised at the benefits your small business gains as a result. Global Copywriting
Valuable lessons in social media. Gary Vaynerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy and a successful social media entrepreneur in his own right, has many insights to share with small business leaders seeking a new way to define their brands in an age of social communications. Read some of the takeaways Vaynerchuk shares with those trying to define their businesses with social media. E-Marketing Associates
Doubt the power of FB to create brand for almost anyone? You won’t after you read the story of Princeton English Professor Jeff Nunokawa and “Jeffbook”, a collection of 3,221 brief literary essays on Facebook, that have created an incredible cult status for Nunokawa in the process. His motivation? Not too different from those of most marketers. Nunokawa simply started sharing where he knew his audience already spent lots of their time. The results speak for themselves. Fast Company
Increase exposure with niche social media. Blogger Mavis Nong talks about the importance of niche social media sites including social bookmarking sites as a key method of creating exposure for your online business. Mavis talks about her experience with our sister site BizSugar.com (thanks for the shout out! ) and explains how smaller more focused social sites can sometimes have a surprising impact even larger than the big guys. Attraction Marketing Online
Sponsors wanted for new SugarTone Sweet Business Blogging Contest. Put the power of social media to work for your brand. We’re looking for sponsors to help with a brand new blogging contest involving two of the fastest growing small business communities on the Web, BizSugar.com and Bloggertone.com. Learn more about the contest by reading the full announcement and get in touch today! BizSugar Blog
From Small Business TrendsSmall Business News: Social Media Brand
What is your social media brand? Do you have one? Sure, many small business owners and entreprene...
What is your social media brand? Do you have one? Sure, many small business owners and entrepreneurs are coming around to the enormous importance of social.