Tag Archives: Facebook

The 9 iPhone applications that I use every single day of the year

Looking back at 2012 I received a lot of questions regarding what apps I use on my iPhone. Like everybody, I have my list of favorite applications but as I reflect on 2012 I started thinking about which apps I use on a daily basis and are now part of my daily activity. That list is much shorter than apps that I like.

I have broken this blog post into 2 sections. The first section covers the applications that I use every day and yes that means 365 days per year. The second section covers applications that I are my favorites and help me solve specific problems but do not fall into the 365 days per year usage category.

For the purposes of my top list I am not including the default apps of Mail, Message, Calendar and Clock that I use daily.

5 Additional iPhone Apps that I use everyday of the year

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FourSquare

What I like about it: Foursquare is my historical view of places I have been. I use it daily to help me solve 3 specific use case; 1) it helps me remember some of the great restaurants I have been to and which ones I want to go back to in the future, 2) I use it to discover new restaurants that I want to visit based on my friends checkins/tips as well as the foursquare community and 3) it is always fun to save some money by taking advantage of FourSquare specials.

My tip for new users: there is an option in FourSquare to share your checkins on Facebook and Twitter. I recommend that you don’t post all your mundane regular checkins but instead reserve it for travel locations and unique places you visit. This way you don’t upset your friends or followers.

Some data points on my FourSquare usage. If you check out my tripsQ page (http://tripsq.com/darbysieben) – you will notice that as of this posting date I have travelled 481K kilometers. Other data points, I have been using FourSquare for the past 1060 days and have compiled 5507 checkins during that time.

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Waze

What I like about it: Crowdsource traffic conditions and turn by turn navigation. My use cases; 1) when at home keeps me up to date on travel times and gives me recommendations if I should change my regular routes, 2) when I travel and rent a car my go to app for turn by turn directions and the ability to accurately predict my ETA to my location and 3) when I take a taxi this app keeps the cab driver honest and has saved my money in the past when taxi drivers want to take me on a different route.

My tip for new users: Carry a charger in your car. This app, if you run it all the time like I do, drains the battery just like any turn by turn / map navigation app for the iPhone. Second find a good spot to mount it in your vehicle. I am lucky as both my vehicles allow me to mount right behind my steering wheel.

Some data points on my Waze usage. I started using it everyday in Q3 of this year. So far I have posted 122 alerts for other drivers and have racked up 8810km’s in driving data.

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Zite Personalized Magazine

What I like about it: This app keeps me up to date with all the industry news that I require to do my job as well as personal interests that I want to stay on top of. My use cases; 1) its my primary news feed – nuff’ said and 2) is the primary tool that I use to populate my twitter account twitter.com/darbysieben.

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Google Chrome

What I like about it: I do a lot of searches and viewing of websites on my iPhone. For me, Google Chrome is much better than the default Safari browser. My reasons for stating this; 1) syncs with my Google account so that I can move from desktop to iPhone and have my search history/bookmarks move with me, 2) search within the URL browser – I hate the fact that on Safari you have a website URL entry and then a separate search entry box and 3) faster – although I don’t have any concrete numbers to validate this, it appears to be faster.

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Facebook App

What can I say about facebook; it’s always nice to stay up to date with friends and family.

Here is a list of other apps that I use regularly and solve specific needs.

Continue reading

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?

Which is the Funniest Yellow Pages Group Ad From the Past 4-Years?

So last week I was at the Kelsey Conference in San Diego during the brand relaunch for Yellow Pages Group. With our brand relaunch, we also launched a series of funny television commercials. One of the those commercials is emerging as the one that seem to have gotten the most traction in YouTube and even has it own fan page on Facebook. The video I am referring to is the Oily Man video, see below.

Since I started working with Yellow Pages Group in 2006 we have produced (not me specifically, but our communications teams) some pretty funny ads for our Yellow Pages business and our Auto Trader business.

Here are my favorite 3 ads; 1 from our current Yellow Pages Group campaign and 2 ads from previous Auto Trader campaigns. Which one do you think is the funniest ad?


Yellow Pages Group Oily Guy (2010)

Auto Trader Research (2008)

Auto Trader “Big Fatty” (2006)

Want to see more ads. Follow the links below:

Yellow Pages Group Ads on YouTube – 3 ads from 2010
Cliff Your Ride Promotion on Youtube – user generated from 2010
AutoTrader Ads on YouTube – 3 ads from 2008

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?

My FourSquare Experience

I am little behind on my blog posts, lots of travelling for Yellow Pages Group in the past few weeks, but I have been meaning to post some thoughts regarding my usage of FourSquare. For anybody who has connected with me on twitter account, @darbysieben you probably have noticed that I have been all over foursquare lately.

For those of you who are not familiar with FourSquare – here is the summary:

– Get an account and install FourSquare on your phone – you need a smart phone (here is the link to foursquare in iTunes)
– When you visit a place, you simply open the application on your phone and “Check-In”. This will broadcast to your FourSquare friends (or Twitter and Facebook if you choose) that you have “Checked-In”
– You collect points for check-ins, providing tips or entering new locations and if you check in enough times in a location you become the mayor, some businesses will provide incentives for being the mayor
– You collect badges based on a variety of types of checkins. Here is my list of badges (my wife was joking with me that she outgrew badges in Brownies)

Personally, I think FourSquare is an interesting concept with respect to the “gaming” concept by using location as a way to compete with friends through points, badges or mayorship, the ability to discovery new venues and as a way to record your movements to broadcast to your friends.

In a nutshell – fun, discovery and ego massaging.

When I was in Hawaii at the end of January, I first experienced the concept of using FourSquare as discovery. Check out the screenshots below when I checked in to the Apple Store in Waikiki:

FourSquare Apple Store Waikiki

You will notice the “Special Nearby” green icon at the top. I suspect this is generating a massive amount of click throughs and as you see below when you click through, I was presented a 10% of at Doraku Sushi.

FourSquare Doraku Sushi

This concept is pretty cool from a user discovery perspective – it can lead a user to potentially check out a new venue based on an offer. This has interesting implications for local businesses.

Because I broadcasted my locations to my friends on Facebook and Twitter, people were commenting and telling us about places to check out. It was interesting to see people from all over the world give us advise on our trip. This was a pretty cool and another great example of discovery, this time through my social network.

Data Problem With User Generated Content in FourSquare

After using FourSquare for the past month there are some problems with data in this application from a user perspective that I believe need to be addressed to move the concept of check-in into the mainstream.

Nothing is more frustrating that wanting to check in to a location and the location is not recognized in the database. This happen to me in the US and in Canada. Although a user can add a location and get 5 points, I am not sure this is a mainstream approach. I would identify data the source of verified data and still allow a user to enter a new location, but when it is a business that has been there for years, it seems like a unnecessary layer of friction. I would also allow users to enter information inside the merchant page for the business. I have missed a number of check-ins because of lack of data in the FourSquare database.

The other thing I have noticed about FourSquare UG content is that some people are entering locations multiple times – likely so that they can become the mayor of that location. This is frustrating as well. For example most Airports I have passed through have multiple entries. There needs to be some data cleansing or monitoring.

If FourSquare does not address the data issue, I think this could result in them losing their advantage in the long-run. Although Mavens, as described by Malcomn Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point, will get you usage early, you need the masses to make a long-term sustainable business. The check-in concept is likely to be commoditized and I think data accuracy combined with smart UG content will be a key driver to who wins this space.

For Local Businesses

In the short-run, for any local business that has already starting leveraging social media – make sure you location is accurate within the FourSquare database. Second – provide an incentive for your “mayor”. Here are some examples of what companies are doing for their mayors.

Many people are talking online that check-ins will become commoditized and I think you will see major players around the globe will move into this space. If they do, there is a distribution play for local businesses based on the promotion of special offers, enhanced content (reviews, videos, photos) etc. The key for local businesses at this point is to digitize their content for the web and mobile and then distribute.

The problem with my Doraki Sushi example above was that my interest was peaked – 10% off Sushi (I like Sushi) but I wanted more information that simply a name and an offer. Show me pictures, give me a video, perhaps a menu in the case of a business – give me (the user) more information.

I think there is a synergy between users and businesses in this example. Users will want more information to help in making a decision and businesses want more opportunities to present why you should visit them. Provided the user experience is one that the user selects as opposed to be forced, then I think you have a winning combination that satisfies all parties

Privacy

The privacy issue is an interesting one. Many of my friends or my wife’s friends are horrified about the fact that I would broadcast my location. There are privacy implications here. When I was in Hawaii, it did cross my mind that I am broadcasting to the world that I am not home (however, I then realized I am not that important and I doubt there is a person out there who is waiting for me to leave my house to rob).

Check out PleaseRobMe.com – a site that broadcasts people in who have left their home – so maybe I need to be more concerned.

A THOUGHT: I wonder if an insurance company will challenge somebody who gets broken into as “irresponsible” if they broadcasted that they were not home and this promoted somebody to break into their house.

I don’t think the issue lies with FourSquare or any of the players who release a check-in service – this is opt in – but users need to understand what this means. You are telling your friends, co-workers, insurance company, potential people that want to harm you, etc. where you are and what does that means for you. This could have negative impacts.

My Conclusions

Check-In Service will become more popular and will be incorporated in many applications and eventually become commoditized.

Users will want a combination of accurate data + the ability to provide user generated content. They want control to contribute but I think it will go beyond just providing name/address information.

Users will want more information in the discovery process. They love the deal, but give them more content – videos, photos, menus, reviews, etc. – let the user go deeper in the discovery mode for local businesses from a check-in.

Local Businesses need to embrace digitization of their content and the management of that content. Check-in will become a distribution point.

Commercial real estate prices will increase because many people are checking into a particular area, location, location, location. This is probably not true but I wonder if social media could help in further articulating why one commercial location has a higher value than another – could check-ins become a supporting metric for foot traffic?

What Do You Think?

Is there a future for check-in?

Do you think users will want more information about a local business?

Do you think local businesses will embrace and provide offers?

Do you broadcast your location?

If you want more interesting reading on FourSquare, check out the following posts:

FourSquare and Geo-Games: The Future of Local?

Dennis Crowley (Foursquare): Check-ins Will Be “Commodity by the End of the Year.”

A Deeper Look Into Canada’s SMB Video Portal by YellowPages.ca

If content truly is king then you need to have a lot of content to pull off a portal dedicated to videos for small and medium sized businesses in Canada. Yellow Pages Group, Canada’s leading directory provider, is one such company that can make this come true and have just launched its Canadian Business Video Portal. Connected to Canada’s leading business directory, YellowPages.ca, the content of its video portal is both rich in breadth and depth.

For small businesses in Canada who are using video as a means to attract new customers this is a real win. First Yellow Pages Group launched its Canadian Business YouTube Channel, second it incorporated all its videos into its iTunes, Blackberry and Android applications and now it further distributes this content through a dedicated video only portal that connects consumers back to their profile page on YellowPages.ca. This kind of reach for a business owner for video advertising in Canada is truly unprecedented. Check out some of my previous posts on the above topics; youtube channel and mobile applications. NOTE: as of this posting, the videos on the YouTube Channel from Yellow Pages Group has received over 589,000 views, which is pretty decent considering these are informational about local businesses and not entertainment videos.

So let’s take a walk through of the video portal:

The Home Page

First thing you will notice is that this site uses IP detection to automatically assign a city – in my case Calgary, Alberta. In some cases you may notice that the city that is defaulted is not your city at all – this is an issue with IP detection and your host provider may be routing from another city. No worries though, in the top left hand corner you can simply change your default location.

The layout is pretty simple – navigation categories on the left, main video content in the middle and related videos to the right. Recently added videos are located towards the bottom of the page. Here is a screen shot of what I see this morning. What is neat is that if you refresh the home page, you will get a new profiled video so the site is changing all the time.

Canadian Video Portal Home Page

Social Elements

What good is a video channel if you can’t share it with your friends. Every video has 4 social elements – Add to Facebook, Add to Twitter, Copy URL and Embed Video. The Embed Video is nice for any small business owner who wants to add their video to their website. The Add to Facebook will load Facebook.com directly and the Add to Twitter will launch Twitter.com.

Social Features of Video Portal

Example of the Add to Facebook feature:

Add to Facebook from the Video Portal

Example of clicking on Embed This Video:

Embed a Video from the Video Portal

After you copy the code, here is what the embedding actually looks like. In this case I have decided to use the video from Universal Ford Lincoln Sales.

Category Refinements

There are 17 main categories in the video channel, but with tens of thousands of videos you need further refinement options. Here is an example of clicking on the Automotive, Sales and Services category and what the refinement by category looks like. If you are searching for a business by name, you can also sort alphabetically. Other popular categories include; Eat In & Out, Health & Beauty, Home Improvement & Real Estate and Travel and Accommodations to name just a few.

Category Refinement for Video Portal

If you select Automobile Dealers-New Cars, you will get a nice small list as follows:

Category Refinement for Video Portal

Destination for Any Click on Business Profile

Throughout this video portal you will notice links that say “See Business Profile”. All these links will go to the profile page on YellowPages.ca for all these businesses that contains some pretty rich information. Here is the example from Universal Ford. You will notice the video, link to website, opening hours, products and services and other features such as weather conditions, driving directions and what’s nearby.

Merchant Page on YellowPages.ca

Final Thoughts

As local business video is becoming more and more part of the buying decision, I think more and more Canadians will be demanding a richer experience. There truly is something about video that makes the experience so much richer than simply text on a web page.

I hope that you found this walk through interesting. If you have comments, please leave them in the comments section. As the Director of Business Development for Yellow Pages Group, I can ensure you that your comments will reach the right people.