Yahoo! Answers – Implications for Marketers & Publishers

Rough notes without comment from me – if you disagree with anything said, leave it in the comments 🙂

Stephen now talking about Sainsbury’s sponsorship of the food & drink category on Answers. A bit sticky for them because they couldn’t control the conversation – some people were rude about them, but when that happened other people chimed in and supported the retailer. Sainsbury’s was the first and a bit of an experiment, but the response overall is very positive – so the challenge for Yahoo! is to scale this sort of activity.

Look at the US Presidential Campaign sites (and compare perhaps with those in the French election) Hilary Clinton putting herself out there capturing quality feedback from citizens and engaging with it.

Providing Answers badges and widgets customised for small publishers and bloggers. So taking both those ideas further forward, we’re introducing “Knowledge Partners” – to allow businesses to participate overtly in the dialogue – not pretending that you’re Joe Bloggs with an answer that happens to be favourable to you, but being honest about the context in which you’re answering questions. So this becomes a channel for customer care, a way of answering real questions.

Now talking about the Wii tag debacle – businesses will make mistakes and upset the community occasionally.

Q: Do you have any ways of helping us monitoring the conversation?
A: Well that’s the idea behind Knowledge Partners – giving you tools to see what’s being said. Giving you the opportunity to share your “expert knowledge” as a brand owner. But people are going to talk about you, so get used to it

Q: [Playstation] How representative is your audience compared with say Sainsbury’s
A: It is the online audience, we haven’t seen any skewing. In any particular area, you may get a knowledge or interest skew, but not in terms of demographics. The interface is really simple and that helps. The new video version might skew things.

Q:[Playboy] How do you see this merging with online qualititative research?
A: Have to be very conscious that this service is firstly for consumers to share and exchange knowledge and we won’t do anything to stand in the way of that. That said, of course it can be a great way to do unstructured research on what is important to users rather than what’s important to the brand. We’ve already seen some of the researchy type of question “what’s your favourite movie?” but that sort of chat room stuff is sinking to the bottom.

Q: Blurring between PR & Marketing – where’s the driver for that?
A: I don’t know yet, it’s too early – Sainsbury’s was Marketing led – engaging in topics around how can you have discussions with your customers. They were looking for ways to have a conversation and this seemed quite a good way. Clearly for Clinton it’s more of a PR thing, but we don’t have a definitive answer yet. The challenge of PR is not just protecting and promoting the brand but really how you engage with people. I run the audience group for Yahoo, which is a new cross-functional team marketing, pr, community outreach and it’s less and less about pushing out messages and more about engaging with the community, so more and more I can’t make the distinction between all of these activities.

Blogging 4 Business

I’m at the Marriott in Grosvenor Square again at the second Blogging 4 Business conference, courtesy of Matthew Yeomans and Bernhard Warner.

Right now we’re listening to Stephen Taylor from Yahoo! talking about how social media is for everyone, not just for kids. He’s taking us through flickr as the perfect example of a social media tool.

Already in Matthew’s intro there was an emphasis on just how much has changed since last year – especially that last year, we were very focused on what the possibilities were, but this year we’re going to talk about what people have actually done since then.

Shows of hands are so last year, but we’ve already had one on flickr, though he didn’t ask how many of us were oldskool 😛 I may try keeping count.

Now he’s talking about social search and specifically Answers. Btw in related news, I saw this nice AFDJ from metafilter. Had me spluttering in my cornflakes anyway.

Steph has just sat next to me, Yay! But she can’t get on the limited free wi-fi. Boo!

And I’ve forgotten my USB cable for my camera so no pics on the day, sorry folks.

My first orange tree

It's an orange tree!I’m ashamed to admit such worldly inexeperience, but last week’s trip to Barcelona was my first to Spain and the second furthest south I’ve ever been.

So I just want to explain that I’m not used to these sorts of things. I went for a little walk at the end of the middle day of the conference and suddenly, there in front of me was a fruit tree… now I’ve seen apple trees and pear trees and damson bushes and blackberry hedgerows but I have never seen a tree with ORANGES on it.

And the thought of being able to just reach up and pick an orange off a tree, for free, without having to go into Sainsbury’s or tear a red stringy bag apart, taking your fingertips with it, took my breath away.

Next week…. LEMONS 🙂

Katie gets it

Ladles & Jellyspoons,

give a big blogosphere welcome to Katie Ledger who has quietly started making some social media, firstly with her blog which has been running for a month or so now and now with her youtube debut on the Government’s Nursery Education Grant where she interviews the owner of a local nursery school on how the NEG (you couldn’t make this stuff up could you?) is having, shall we say, some unintended consequences.

The Social Media Club motto is “If you get it, share it”

I prefer “If you get it, MAKE it… and share it”

Nice one, Katie 🙂

Put de SPAM in de coconut

This looks like fun, from the London Theatre Guide

“Cast members from Monty Python’s Spamalot are hoping that the public supports them on St George’s Day (23 April) as they attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest coconut orchestra. The current record stands at 1,789 and was set in March 2006, outside the Shubert Theater New York, to celebrate the first birthday of Spamalot’s Broadway production. This new record attempt will be held in Trafalgar Square, so has enough room to smash the current total.”

“Taking part in such a prestigious record attempt is not as easy as turning up and banging two halves of a tasty, healthy snack together. Aspiring record-breakers need to have registered at a Trafalgar Square checkpoint by 18:30 to be assured of their exclusive Monty Python coconut. They will then be taught how to play their husky instruments by members of the Spamalot team. The official record attempt takes place at 19:00 and is followed by an al fresco screening of Monty Python And The Holy Grail at 19:30. ”

If I’m in town, I’ll try to be there to record the event for posterity.

Bonus Link: More SPAM & Coconut fun