Category Archives: Social

Intelligent Chat Bots and a Look Back At Canada’s First

Chat Bots are back, good bots anyway and have started to gain some traction in the marketplace with more and more people speaking about the business implications. With Facebook’s announcement at F8 the spotlight has risen and over the course of the next year I am sure we will see lots of activity in this space.

The full list of FB 2016 Messenger Partners shows an interesting mix of use cases. I believe the applications that offer commerce and/or customer service elements are actually the most useful. The news based feeds are interesting and important for publishers to test out as another means to get in front of eyeballs but if they don’t add anymore value than simply a feed of content – not sure this will be as useful.

If you look at the list of Bots available on the Kik Platform, I think there are some interesting applications. For example, Wirkin to find a job, H&M for clothing inspiration, and of course the Weather Channel (because we need more ways to know the forecast).

Another interest space to watch is the Bot Platforms that allows you to build and host bots to integrate with the various end-user applications. For example, Meya.io is a platform player based in Waterloo, Ontario who is doing some interesting work on creating a platform for any company to quickly deploy bots for a variety of use cases. Another interesting platform is Pandorabots who are really helping businesses open up a new way to communicate with their customers.

An exciting space for sure. To the title of my post, back in 2006, I was involved in a product to launch Canada’s first MSN Message Bot for finding location. Yellow Pages Group partnered with a company called Illumicell (which became Poynt) who had a partnership with Microsoft and we launched YellowBuddy in 2006. It was a very interesting use case for us to understand how many people would use a Messenger platform in order to retrieve local information. We had a future plan of eventually being able to book, buy and deliver but our ambitions at the time where larger than the market was ready.

I think we where a little too far ahead of the curve. The big game changer today is smartphones and mobile adoption. For those of you interesting, I have including some screenshots below of the original application. If you want to see all the screenshots, click on MORE tab. Hope you enjoy a little walk down history.

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How Social is Yellow Pages Group in Canada?

It was one of those amazing days of incredible meetings, finalizing a new deal (wait for this one) and introductions to some incredible technologies and start-ups in the social media space. During one of those meetings, I was asked the question; “How Social is Yellow Pages Group?”.

This was one of those questions that I had to pause to give some thought. I answered by outlining some of the initiatives and realized we do a lot. So I figured this would make a good blog post.

Here are just some of the things that we are doing in the social space.

YellowPages.ca

Introduced this year, you can now login into YellowPages.ca using your Facebook Username and ID which will automatically set you up with a Yellow Pages Account. Login in the top right hand corner of the site. This initiative is lead by YPG’s social media guru, @martyboy008 and his incredible team of social media experts.

My Yellow Pages Account Sign-In Page

This sign-in allows you to rate and review businesses and share your discoveries with your social graph. For example, here is screenshot of a recent review that I wrote on the Red House Thai & Malaysia in Pickering (this is the place that started my love affair with Thai food and anybody that knows me, knows I love Pad Thai).

Read Reviews on YellowPages.ca

Finally when you connect using your Facebook Account, you can actually see what businesses your friends like.

See Which Businesses Your Friends Like

YellowPages.ca Facebook Application

The first of its kind in Canada, released in 2008 – the complete YellowPages.ca experience within the Facebook environment complete with ratings and reviews.

Facebook Application for YellowPages.ca

This one even got press coverage by CTV in June 2008 – check out the video,

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

RedFlagDeals.com

Without a doubt, RedFlagDeals.com is Canada’s most active shopping network featuring one of the most active forums discussing all the best places in Canada to find deals.

RedFlagDeals.com

For everybody looking for free stuff, one of their popular areas is Canadian Freebies & Free Stuff,

RedFlagDeals Free Stuff

Coming Soon … the RedFlagDeals.com Daily Deal,

Canada's Daily Deal of Day by RedFlagDeals.com

Urbanizer iPhone Application

Urbanizer is Canada’s first “mood-based” application for the iPhone (here is the link the iTunes Store) that works in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

Urbanizer for the iPhone - Mood Based Search

One the web you can see moods of current cities. Here is a screenshot of Calgary.

Mood in Calgary for Restaurants by Urbanizer

LesPac.com and BuySell.com Classified Sites

In the province of Quebec, LesPac.com has established itself as the leader in the classified space. In English speaking Canada there is BuySell.com, another top classified destination for Canadians.

LesPac.com - Quebec's Leading Classified Site

BuySell.com - One of Canada's Leading Classified Destinations

Restaurantica.com

One of Canada’s most engaged communities, Restaurantica.com features over 200,000 reviews on restaurants.

Restaurant Reviews on Restaurantica.com

New Additions to the Social Family of Yellow Pages Group

Urban Pill

One of the leading blog destinations for what is happening in Vancouver, UrbanPill.com is pretty cool to follow if you live or plan on visiting Vancouver.

Vancouver Based Entertainment Blog

GigPark

GigPark is a social recommendation engine that was built by @pema and @noahgodfrey (these guys kick-ass in the Canadian tech space) – who sold this platform to CanPages in 2009.

GigPark Social Recommendation Engine

Quick Links to the Social Destinations for the Above

YellowPages.ca on Facebook
YellowPages.ca on Twitter (managed by @zelia, YPG’s super crazy social media communicator)
PagesJaunes.ca on Twitter
Yellow Pages Group Local Video Channel on YouTube
Yellow Pages Group Ad Campaigns on YouTube
Yellow Pages Group on LinkedIn
YellowPages Mobile on Twitter
Urbanizer on Twitter
RedFlagDeals.com on Twitter
RedFlagDeals.com on Facebook
Restaurantica.com on Facebook

Funny thing, on the phone this took all about 2-minutes, this blog post took a little bit longer. Perhaps I should have done just a video.

Tell me what you think – did you enjoy this post? Any feedback?

Hierarchy of Social Media Influence

Here is the hierarchy of social influence according to the new report from Harris Data.

Interesting to see professional sources so highly rated.

1) Friends and Family

2) Reviews from newspapers and magazines

3) One’s broader social network

4) Other blogs and forums

5) Celebrity review ( most influential on 18-34 years old )

Read the full post on Greg Sterling’s blog

PS – I on the runway in Toronto leaving to New York for the CM Summit and using WordPress for the iPad to post this, works not too bad except for the fact that it won’t let me paste in the post.

If you use word press for the iPad and have a solution to the paste option in a post let me know.

Follow-Up – never did get the links working in the WordPress App. Had to switch to safari to add the reference links. This was a little frustrating as well as editing was more difficult than I thought in the editor window.

Blippy.com – Will You Share What You Buy?

Through Facebook.com (my profile) we decided to share who we were, where we went school, our personal photos and more. Using LinkedIn.com (my profile) we decided to share everything about our business life and business connections. Twitter (my profile) allows us to share our 140 character thoughts. With FourSquare (my profile) we now check-in everywhere and share our location with our friends.

Now there is Blippy.com – the service that allows you to share your purchases. On the Blippy.com website the tagline is simple : Blippy is a fun and easy way to see and discuss what everyone is buying.

Here is a screenshot from my Blippy.com Feed:

Darby Sieben Blippy.com Feed

At this point I am only sharing my purchased from iTunes. But if you want to share more of your purchases you have the following options:

Accounts You Can Share on Blippy.com

Most of these services are not available in Canada but you have the option of sharing your credit card or banking transactions. As a Canadian you have the following financial institution support on Blippy.com – American Express, ING Bank, and Capital One (although it does not explicitly say Canada). Here is a screenshot of the financial institutions supported by Blippy.com:

Financial Institutions Supported by Blippy.com

This past week I was forwarded this site to my colleagues and friends asking for their feedback. Some of them thought it was quite innovative in terms of asking your friends for feedback on whether they liked or disliked a movie or song. Others thought it was inappropriate to share this information on the web and flat-out told me they never would post their purchases online. Other thought it was completely stupid that somebody who post this info and that others would actually want to read it. One thing for sure is that Blippy.com evoked a reaction.

I actually think this concept is interesting. Think about it – everybody shares with their friends and family what they like and dislike. Did you see that movie? What did you think of it? When people come over to my house, they ask us how do you like your massage chair or your 4-door fridge (these are 2 common questions we get from most people). You can read about my Inada Massage Chair purchase.

Does Blippy.com allow people from long distances participate in those discussions?

Could Blippy.com help you make better decisions by asking people in your network about a product or service?

What about asking a total stranger on Blippy.com what he thought of a restaurant you have not been to before?

Is this so different than facebook, twitter, foursquare or linkedin?

Could Blippy.com be the next social phenomena?

Will You Share What You Buy?

Join the Conversation, Your Business Needs It. A Social Media Presentation

Here is a great presentation by Marta Kagan and is a follow-up to the original What the F**K is Social Media.

I wanted to post this to my site as social media has become a bigger part of my personal and professional career in the past 18-months. The slides in this presentation do a very good job of highlighting how important social media is becoming in the mainstream. Couple this with a book written by Don Tapscott called “grown up digital” and you get an appreciation for the “conversation revolution” that we are currently in and the importance of having a strategy to deal with in. For this post, I will not be providing any of my insights. I will do this in a follow-up article. For now, I hope that you enjoy this presentation:

$100 in Free Gas Every Day For Sharing Your Opinion

Do you like to share your opinion? If so – launched today is the $100 a day free gas card giveaway from the YellowPages.ca Facebook Application – see full contest details.

Since the launch of this application, we have seen a growing numbers of users from across Canada share their opinions on restaurants, bars, dentists, health spas and this is a way to say thanks for those users to keep sharing their opinion with friends and family.

yp_facebook_application.png

On a personal note, I appreciate that my blog has been very quiet in the last couple of months and for everybody who emailed me asking me what’s up – thanks for emails and your concern.

Besides being extremely busy in my position of Director of Online Services for Yellow Pages Group, I also made a move from Toronto to Calgary. Although the transition went extremely smooth, it is quite a ride to pick up your life and move over 3000 km’s.

Anyway, I will be regularly contributing again, with more of a focus on what is being launched by the YellowPages.ca Labs Development Team as we continue to produce some great work in helping Canadians buyers connect with sellers.