Weekly Roundup, August 19

By Exclusive Concepts Blog Team

It’s Friday again and time for my weekly roundup of links worth perusing now the week is winding down.

RSS,? Really Simple Syndication, is getting the attention of Venture Capitalists. $100 m VC Fund for RSS Companies started.

Time Europe has coined a new phrase to describe word-of-mouth networks, calling it “The Referral Economy.” via Steve Rubel.

Mark Cuban and Ice Rocket are close to banning all blogs hosted on Google’s free blogger software because too many spammers are using as their “splog” platform.? “Splogs” are spam blogs, sometimes called link farms.

The Future of Advertising? ? Fortune magazine looks at Yahoo’s way of making brand advertising work online and says Yahoo may be on the verge of becoming the 21st century’s first media giant.

The Blog Advantage in search results. How Robert Scoble Compares to the Top PR Firms.

The Conversational Era is the final chapter of Naked Conversations by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble in which they sum up how blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers.? Naked Conversations is a must -get book on blogging and business.? Amazon is taking orders for the book which will appear in January.?

Naked Conversations tried to keep focused on business and how blogging and social media are changing the relationships between companies and their constituencies. We offered a great number of tips and case studies that would should remain relevant despite the constant changes.? Our sense is that the business community’s attitude toward blogging has changed from when we started. Back in February, business people dismissed blogging as just a passing fad. This was the denial phase. Then we detected a certain level of anger about blogs as a distraction, about them interrupting systems in place that were allegedly best practices. We even had an enraged CEO tell us that blogs were a scam used to cheat on search engine results. Now, business people understand that blogs are here to stay and companies need to figure out how to incorporate them into the way they communicate. We hope Naked Conversations will help people make the right decisions for their companies.

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We are not preaching wide-eyed altruism, here. This is about business, efficiency and profit. Blogging is smart business. Blogging is cheaper and more effective than most marketing programs in use today. Sun Microsystems president Jonathan Schwartz told us he could reach more people through his blog than would a full page ad in a trade magazine—and they could reach him as well. Customers loved Firefox so much they chipped in to a two-page ad in the New York Times, and consequently learned that blogging was a more effective way to get more customers, and it cost a whole lot less.? British tailor Thomas Mahon used a blog to increase his business by 300 percent in a few months and make him the best-known member of his profession. Andrew Carton has more visitors to his Treo blog than the companies who make the device and its software combined and he? has become more influential to Treo products than executives in either company.

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We had thought the most appropriate term for this bigger picture was “Conversational Marketing,?? but we learned it is more than that. Blogging impacts marketing, but it transcends it. It is vital not just to outbound communications, but inbound as well.? It is a crisis firefighter, a superior research aggregator, a tool for recruiting, product building, customer service and support, executive access, employee relations, customer evangelism and most interaction between companies and their constituencies. It will accomplish things of which we have not yet dreamed.

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Ultimately, blogging has ended one era and ignited another. In this new era, companies don’t win just by talking to people. Now people get to talk back. We call it the Conversational Era. It doesn’t change everything because as John Naisbitt told us, everything never changes. But something has changed and it is impacting businesses of all sizes in most parts of the developed world. It has made it a smaller faster place.

And business is the better for it.

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