Wrapup of Virtual Handshake Conference

Chairing last week’s Virtual Handshake conference, “Beyond Blogs and Social Networks: How the Virtual Handshake and Consumer Generated Media Will Make or Break Your Business” was an honor and a pleasure. I’d like to thank Stuart Williams, Ali Curi, and Don Friedman of the Strategic Research Institute for making the conference happen.

For those of you that did not attend, you can get a feel for the event by looking at all the blog posts at TheVirtualHandshake.com/blog for December 1st and 2nd, 2005. I have also included links to the slides that were presented, in those cases where I had access to them.

You can download my two keynotes here:

  • Introduction to Social Software. What is it? Who are some of the major players?
  • Your Life is Online…Now What? Social and business implications of the growth of social software.
  • Following are the key blog posts:

    Managing Relationships with Influencer Bloggers
    Panel: New Trends in RSS
    Anne Berkowitch, cofounder and CEO, SelectMinds
    Geoff Hyatt, CEO, Contact Network Corporation
    Glenn Gutmacher, Microsoft, on Recruiting with Online Networks
    Marty Schwimmer on Marketing to Large Corporations with a Blog
    Sanford Dickert: Blogging for Business Performance
    Larry Bodine on Marketing with Blogs
    Steven Cohen, Senior Librarian , Pubsub, on Real-Time Web Search
    Monitoring Real-Time Consumer-Generated Media
    Corporate Blogging—Real World Success Stories
    MediaBistro and GoBigNetwork CEOs on Online Social Networks
    Dan Burstein on Blogging
    Michael Wing, IBM, on Corporate Blogging and Jamming
    Rob Key, CEO Converseon, on Consumer-Generated Media
    Steve Rubel on Blogs/Consumer Generated Media
    Notes from today’s Virtual Handshake conference: Jonathan Carson, Buzzmetrics

    We hope to host a similar event next year, and very much hope that all of you can attend again! We welcome your suggestions for speakers, topics, and other ways in which to make next year’s social software conference as valuable as possible.

    Managing Relationships with Influencer Bloggers

    My last notes from the Virtual Handshake conference:

    Idil Cakim, Director, Knowledge Development, Burson-Marsteller, speaking on “Managing Relationships with Influencer Bloggers”.

    A shortened version of Idil’s presentation is here: Managing Relations with Influencer/Maven Bloggers

    She recently wrote a short piece that cites some relevant figures about the most influential bloggers: Word-of-MouthTrickles Offline and Online

    Panel: New Trends in RSS

    My last notes from the conference

    Dana VanDen Heuvel, Pheedo

    You can download the slides from this presentation here: Heuvel

    RSS is a channel.
    MSFT is integrating RSS in next version of Internet Explorer

    + Right Spam Solution—100% deliverability
    + RSS is self-organizing.
    + True permission—easer to unsubscribe than e-mail.
    + Does not need to be part of a blog. RSS is simply an XML file that’s formatted properly to be read by a client. Any type of website, information can be RSS-readable.


    Steve Semelsberger, Pluck

    You can download the slides from this presentation here: Pluck

    Launched in 2003. Consumer web 2.0 services. FeedFinder, Shadows, Easyjournal.
    Mainly work with publishers & web companies . helping with content syndication , aggregation, and generation. Editorial controls, community management, and site integration.

    They have data on 300,000 RSS users via Pluck

    12% of Internet users are aware of RSS. 27% of users consume RSS via portal start pages without realizing it.

    Browsers offering built-in RSS reading
    Portals help you find & subscribe to RSS feeds.
    Convenience is driving adoption.
    We’re early in market overview & adoption timing.

    Publishers’ question: should I aggregate or solely be aggregated?

    Five years ago only a big firm like yahoo could do a deal with Reuters to incorporate their feed into Yahoo platform. Now, anyone can be an aggregator.

    Case study: Austin-American Statesman. 300K registered users, 1M unique views/month.
    Community blogging went live in Sept.
    Initially launched around major events
    Two sites: statesman.com and austin360.com
    Four tiers of bloggers: staff, official, featured and community
    One month later: hundreds of bloggers covering 1000s of new pages
    Business case based on : increased registrations, new ad/sponsorships

    Make it easy for people to use your user-gen. content

    Elaine O’Garman, VP Strategy, Silverpop.
    RSS Marketing.

    You can download the slides from this presentation here: Silverpop

    Historical product was ASP for sending email.

    RSS is more than a distribution technology for blogs & syndicated content; it is a channel.

    Jupiter estimates RSS usage has grown 83% year/year. Even faster than Internet browser in terms of adoption. Only 6% of markets unaware of RSS as a marketing tool (Nov. 2004)

    How can marketers use RSS?

    -corporate blog
    -Syndicate web content
    -Advertising in other people’s blogs and newsfeeds
    -Newsletters
    -Promo content
    -Transactional content

    What are obstacles?
    – Adoption—but not for long

    – Immaturity:
    – standards for reading and rendering still evolving. Today, readers are very inconsistent in how they render RSS. Check at different rates. Don’t know who’s caching and who’s not.
    – Bandwidth intensive and conservation methods not widely adopted

    Broadcast orientation: measurement, targeting and segmentation, serving individualized content

    Jupiter’s criteria for success of an alternative messaging distribution solution:
    – Security
    – personalized and relevant
    – measurable
    – guaranteed delivery
    – end user control including permission support
    – ubiquity
    – open technology

    RSS meets all of these requirements but two:
    – personalized and relevant
    – measurable

    New generations of RSS content creation/distribution solve these issues by changing the paradigm. Separate feeds are created by subscriber. Jupiter has dubbed this, “individualed RSS, or IRSS”. Basically, it’s giving people a unique URL. Silverpop, SyndicateIQ, Subscriber Mail, are doing this.

    Consequences of this shift: measurable, targetable, personalizeable, gather profiles, connect with other data (transactional, profile, account history)

    Some more ideas on using IRSS for marketers:

    Corporate blogs: reliable measurement, what is of interest, who are evangelists

    Newsfeeds: what gets read, what gets passed on, better monetization

    Advertising: targeted buys, reliable impressions

    Newsletters: untapped audience, wide variety of platforms

    Promotions: no PII needed, spam-proof

    Transactional: no deliverability issues, non-refutability, phish proof.

    Jupiter: 50% of population would subscribe to more things if they had to give away less personal information.

    Spam-proof (so far)

    Dana VanDen Heuvel, Pheedo

    Four cornerstones of an integrated campaign: RSS, blogs, podcast, demo.

    Monetization models for RSS: audience not expecting to pay subscriptions. Selling own ads not scaleable. Alignment with podcast networks and ad networks profitable and scaleable. 6-11% clickthru on RSS. Therefore: use a service like Pheedo.

    RSS ads are stand-alone and clearly labeled & identified.

    Integrated campaign example: Citrix (GotoMeeting) advertising on Chris Pirillo Show.

    RSS Analytics are steadily improving.

    Ipro.com is moving into the RSS analytics space.

    RSS Advertising Best Practices:
    -ads must fit the environment
    – must be relevant and informative
    -watch the content to ad ratio and unsubscribe rates
    – Tell, don’t sell: create relationship
    – be patient: RSS feeds don’t demand to be read.

    One of their advertisers put an ad in every single post, and unsubscribe rates shot thru the roof.

    Anne Berkowitch, cofounder and CEO, SelectMinds

    Anne Berkowitch, cofounder and CEO, SelectMinds
    from today’s Virtual Handshake conference.

    You can download the slides from this presentation here: SelectMinds

    New employment realities are weakening employee relationships: high turnover, outsourcing, telecommuting, etc.

    4 types of networks: extended enterprise networks, corporate alumni networks, and intra-company networks

    Corporate Social Networking is becoming best practice. SelectMinds has 45 clients: top investment banks, 2 of the Big 4 accounting firms, Accenture, IBM, premier law firms

    Fortune 500 knowledge-worker companies: tech, defense, health care.

    Offer:
    – deployment and management of technical platform
    – advisory and execution services (member participation analysis, broadcast communications, surveys, reporting)

    Client successes:
    Cooley Godward (law). 1 new client/ 3 active leads within 6 mos. Of launch. Highly targeted prof’l events for alumni & employees
    E&Y: 25% of hires now rehires(!)
    BearingPoint: employee-submitted operational improvement suggestions
    Collaborative idea generation across enterprise network

    Some of their clients invite ‘friends of a firm’ on a select basis to join the network

    Variation of network across firms: Goldman Sachs alumni network is extremely active.
    Some other clients do not have a strong alumni culture. Lower levels of engagement.
    People like the fact that this is a closed network.
    People use this primarily for business.

    I can login and see what which other employees have RSVPd for a given alumni event—and can see which alums in my personal network specifically are attending.

    Geoff Hyatt, CEO, Contact Network Corporation

    Geoff Hyatt, CEO, Contact Network Corporation
    from today’s Virtual Handshake conference.

    You can download the slides from this presentation here: Contact Networks

    Cofounder, 5 years ago

    presenting: “How a Top 100 Law Firm Transformed Employee Contacts into a Trusted Firm-wide Asset”

    Customers: Greylock Partners, 30 users
    Mintz, Levin, 950 users, 450 attorneys, 7 offices
    Boston Consulting Group, 5000 users

    Case study of Mintz

    They use Interaction, as their CRM system
    Manual data input is a proven failure
    CRM doesn’t extent to all staff, and doesn’t include existing relatinships
    Blast emails (does anyone know someone at …) are disruptive

    Data analyzed directly from Exchange. Continuous updating.
    99.3% adoption rate.

    A resource that employees trust
    10 days to implement and launch firm-wide
    Over 60,000 relationships to 600 companies worldwide.

    Most of their clients eliminate you from Contact Network Corporation system as soon as you leave your employer.

    Graylock shares all of the info about all of their contacts with one another, and see that as a competitive advantage.

    Exchange allows you to set contacts as being universally available—you don’t need Contact Network Corporation to do that. Contact Network Corporation gives you the value of automatically tracking the data.

    When you screw up the launch of social software, you can create serious bad will / problems in a firm. Much harder than just launching a new spreadsheet.

    Glenn Gutmacher, Microsoft, on Recruiting with Online Networks

    Glenn Gutmacher, Microsoft, on Recruiting with Online Networks

    from today’s Virtual Handshake conference.

    Receive 70,000 candidate resume submissions per month
    Approx. 16000 unique new candidates per month
    150 recruiters specialize by each business division

    Organized by : industry (experienced), college, MBA , exec. Recruitment

    He focuses on senior software developers

    Fiscal year (july 1-june 30 ) drives hiring patterns

    Most jobs are in Redmond, WA

    Blogs fall under Microsoft Technical Communities

    Blogs (Microsoft.com/communities/blogs)
    Technical chats (Microsoft.com/communities/chats)
    Newsgroups (Microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups)
    Webcasts (Microsoft.com/communities/webcasts)
    Online tech communities (Microsoft.com/communities/find)
    User groups (Microsoft.com/communities/usergroups)
    Forums (Microsoft.com/communities/forums)
    Blogs.technet.com
    Blogs.msdn.com

    Benefits of blogging

    Helps our staff be perceived as experts.
    Closer ties to depts.
    Bloggers become better writers/communicators
    Reading peer blogs increase your knowledges, exposes you to more ideas
    Generates ideas and content from customers/peers
    Gets more visible on search engines
    Generates press mentions
    Track readership trends (where interest is coming from
    Community development

    Microsoft taking RSS to net level: Simple Sharing Extensions (SSE). Makes RSS 2.0 bidirectional: calendar appointments, contacts, favorites, news, etc.

    Consolidated bios of many tech bloggers (Microsoft.com/communities/bios)

    MS has internal blogging community
    MSFT doesn’t censor or monitor what people say.

    Blogging fears & objections: giving away the farm. Public backlash. Negative media coverage. Email volume spike. Employment termination.

    Whatever issues emerge from the occasional negative post, it’s trivial relative to the amount of blogging going on.

    His advice: put in standard answers to the most common requests you get in your signature files.

    Collegiate outreach.
    Microsoft.com/college

    Thespoke.net (worldwide online community)
    The Imagine Cup
    Steve Sinofsky (VP of MS Office) writes a blog focused on campus recruiting (blogs.msdn.com/TechTalk)

    How to presentations contributed to independent .net develoers community, www.devhood.com/presentations)

    Tech CST recently purchased exclusive month sponsorship on HRSEO

    They’re currently using Jobster and investigating H3.com

    They use LinkedIn and OpenBC heavily. Tech CST’s Shally Steckerl is among the top 20 most-connected out of 4.2m users. Shally gets 200 requests/day(!). Value in serving as a connector node to recruiter and software developer communities.

    Experimenting with Doostang, imeem.

    Sourcers don’t use 3rd party plugins on MS computers

    New tools:
    Local search and mapping
    Niche search: blogs, conference attendees/speaker bios, mailing lists, patents, personal homepages, reverse lookups, thematic, user groups, tech journals, tech standards working groups, PGP keys, Whois, etc.)

    Argali, Pagebites.com
    ResearchBuzz, ResearchShelf, SCIP.org, ResearchZilla.com

    The tools of sales/marketing are quite applicable to recruiting, and vice versa.

    MSCRM 3.0, our next –gen CRM product, is being used by Tech CST to track prospects
    They automate emails and scheduling of frequent calls. Once you leave a candidate alone for 6 months, it’s like starting from scratch.

    Use Hoovers, Jigsaw, OneSource, ZoomInfo, Lexis-Nexis, etc.

    “Dogfooding”: use internal-only blogs and other self-developed online tools in other ways to enhance collaboration internally.
    Groove.net
    Live.com to aggregate RSS content
    Product and technology topic-specific Sharepoint intranet sites to distribute reports, latest info, etc.

    Marty Schwimmer on Marketing to Large Corporations with a Blog

    Marty Schwimmer, Schwimmer Legal, speaking at the conference:

    2000: Formerly partner with Fross Zelnick. made 48-hour foray into internet space. Then, decided to start own firm.

    He was familiar with ICANN blog, and in May 2002 he started the trademark blog.

    His clients are mid-cap to large-cap companies. Most of his clients have met him face-to-face or were referred to him. So how does his blog matter?

    David Maister breaks prof’l services work into 3 categories: Routine (trademark filing), experienced (combating counterfeit products), and expert work (specialized, high-end)

    Without any SEO, his blog usually comes up #1 or #2 on ‘trademark’, or ‘trademark lawyer’

    His blog does create business for him, but not in the way you think.

    Wrote well-linked post: “Dear Abby, should I hire a trademark lawyer”

    The blog is very useful for people who need very specialized help in an area he’s an expert, e.g., sports trademark law.

    Another example: he wrote about impending potential sale in one-letter domain names. An old client called him out of the blue because they saw his signal that he was knowledgeable about/interested in that area.

    One of his colleagues, Dennis Kennedy, frequently writes about NASCAR in his blog. He got criticized for that, but Marty thinks it’s fine to work in these personal items.

    In his recent post about counterfeit drugs, he illustrated it with a shot from “The Third Man”, a film in which Orson Welles deals counterfeit drugs.

    He has made friends as a result of his blog.

    Where did his current clients come from:
    1) inherited from his old firm
    2) trade organizations/conferences
    3) dot-com era
    4) blogging
    (some overlap between categories)

    He’s very conscious about his blog being cited, and about not being retained. Ex: he wrote that the Redskins’ logo is racist. That probably means the NFL won’t be a client.

    On issue of blogging about personal issues: think about how your clients make decisions about hiring people.

    Sanford Dickert: Blogging for Business Performance

    Sanford Dickert
    notes from Virtual Handshake conference

    You can download the slides from this presentation here: Dickert

    Google’s algorithms value freshness and relevance. It’s about interaction.

    Blogging is about defining a ‘space’, even if others are already there.
    75m Americans (37% of adult population, 61% of online Americans) use Internet to get political news & info

    After ‘Black Friday’ comes ‘Online Monday’

    Backbone Media did extensive survey of corporate bloggers. Asked, why do they blog?
    83% saw traffic increase due to blog traffic to the site.
    Search engine keyword traffic increased with posts relevant to keywords.

    Rod Smith case study: on home page, they link to conservative blogs/other sites. Why? To have a conversation.

    They also used blog recruitment.

    Results: google from 19th to 3rd
    Yahoo: 10th to 3rd
    MSN: already at 1st

    Traffic: tripled
    Signups: doubled

    Keyword cost: reduced paid click thrus due to highe SE placement
    All within 30 days; launch was Nov. 9

    Sanford is also working with CentralPodcasting.com. He’s working with law firm that wants to own space of employment law.

    Create the interaction by conversing on what you are about ; create the honeypot.

    Larry Bodine on Marketing with Blogs

    Larry Bodine on “Marketing with Blogs”

    notes from Virtual Handshake conference

    You can download the slides from this presentation here: Marketing via Blogs

    Blogging is brand new for the professional services community.

    In last 70 days (technorati):

    1,116 legal blogs
    Only 5,402 posts related to law
    Only 97 posts about accounting on blogs related to accounting
    Only 41 posts about management consulting on blogs related to business

    Relationship to firm’s website: complementary.
    Blog is a ‘niche magazine’ published by professional at firm.
    Inch wide and mile deep

    Reasons to start a blog:
    -highly visible
    -journalists call bloggers to ask for quotes
    – multiple authors can contribute
    – topic can be any area
    – give author instant credibility and expert status

    This is better/more effective than giving a speech.

    “The blog is the best relationship generator you’ve ever seen”

    MSFT’s old image: Darth Vadar. MSFT’s new image: Luke Skywalker (plus 40 pounds): .
    Chief Humanizing Officer

    Who’s blogging for business?

    #1 law blog
    Patrick Lamb, partner with Butler Rubin Saltarelli & Boyd LLP
    Patrick Lamb
    He uses this mainly to talk with customers.

    J. Craig Williams

    Dennis Crouch, patent attorney at McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP.
    Patently-O
    30,000 visitors/month
    Has brought the firm Fortune 100 client and lots of other patent cases. Dennis is 28-years-old.
    Lawyer all over the country are referring him business, because they feel they know him , from the blog.

    eDiscoverylaw.com

    antitrustlawblog.com

    Steven Cohen, Senior Librarian , Pubsub, on Real-Time Web Search

    Steven Cohen, Senior Librarian , Pubsub

    notes from Virtual Handshake conference

    You can download the slides from this presentation here: Steven Cohen, Pubsub

    Average of 2.6 words used in search queries; that’s very low

    Should you respond to everything people say about you? No, it’s not impossible

    Dogpile is not exhaustive; no meta-engine is exhaustive.

    See gada.be

    Don’t say ‘Google something’—sometimes you have to use other search engines!

    Gigablast (DT: and Rollyo) offer ability to roll your own search engines.

    Pubsub about to release ‘structured blogging’, which will allow you to attach structured data to your blog.

    Cf. TVEyes.com

    Competitive intelligence: who is buying keywords to your trademarks/brands?
    Who is getting hired/fired, and promoted?
    New products put out by competitors?
    Which tags are being used for your products?

    Use Indeed.com to monitor what jobs your competition is hiring for

    Go to Topix.net, type in your competition’s name or zip code, and see local info

    Tags let people create their own classification systems. (yes, the Dewey decimal system is not the be-all and end-all)

    AIGnes.com (website-watcher). Tells you when someone’s website changes. Fantastic product.

    Pubsub’s mission: use detailed and narrow keywords to find possible partners.
    Can do 3B matches/ second
    Don’t just do blog search; pubsub is more exhaustive

    Feedmesh is a community that Bob Wyman is creating among companies that use ping technology. An attempt to create one central place for pings. Google (UPDATE/CORRECTION: Yahoo) is a member through their acquisition of Blo.gs .