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Business with Craig's List

For the past few summers I have worked for my parents who are both real estate agents. A large part of my job is marketing the listings that we have. One of the most cost-effective things we’ve done, particularly for rental properties, is advertising them on CraigsList.  CraigsList seems to be growing in popularity for online real estate searching, particularly in the rental market. it’s worked out really well for us because all it costs to advertise is the time it takes for me to post the ad and repost it each week if the property hasn’t rented. It’s also good for us because we can put photos in there as well as a link to our visual tour. In addition to being a big selling point in the real estate market, linking to the virtual tour allows them to land on our website and see who we are, even though you’re not allowed to advertise business services on the site. All in all, while i wont say it’s necessarily our best marketing tool, it’s definitely the most financially beneficial. If we sell or rent anything at all we’ve made money.

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Pownce.com

From the creator of Digg.com, Kevin Rose, comes his latest creation, Pownce.com. Pownce is a web community on which members share articles, links, photos, music and events with one another. Then, users can discuss what they’ve shared.

Without being a member I wasn’t able to delve really deeply into the workings of the site, nor was I able to find many other articles about it on the internet. Honestly, I don’t see what it does that numerous other sites already allow you to do. I mean, yes, it does give users an alternative to facebook and other sites that do similar things. However, the thing about members only sites like that is what on earth is the point of getting on the site if no one you know is on it. Maybe I’m just lazy or not having a complete web 2.0 experience, but I just don’t see why I would go open a pounce account when 95% of my friends are on facebook and there are still plenty of other sites that have more of a differentiated function that I don’t use yet.

While it may be financially viable, I just don’t see the purpose of pownce. It just seems to be following on the coat tails of bigger and better things.

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Marketing Brainstorming

Article titles:

  • Make Money Fast from the Comfort of Your Couch
  • Top 15 books for young entrepreneur
  • who wants to be a millionaire – social networking gurus
  • creepy ways to meet your mate
  • your king, your country, your internet domain
  • top 5 web designers too new to overcharge you

Any tool or widget

  • last site and the next site that the last visitor went to
  • diggit for people instead of articles

Creative Ideas

  • Get companies that partner with the college to link to our blog
  • Make our blog credible and the essentially sell it as a service to critique websites
  • create award links that link back to our site
  • feature of the week about new companies to attract traffic for things that not a lot of people are writing about
  • become an amazon affiliate
  • live entrepreneurship chat where you can view profiles while you talk
  • have reward buttons and articles post to people’s facebook profiles
  • Put a link on the Wikipedia entry for Grove City College
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Catching on

I read this article in Entrepreneur magazine over break and I thought I’d share it. Apparently even though some ppl are still in the dark ages and see web 2.0 sites as a negative, some are catching on.

Group Dynamics

Facebook could reap a bounty of benefits for your business. Should you join?

URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/magazine/entrepreneur/2008/february/188638.html

After Alicia Rockmore’s Ann Arbor, Michigan-based organizational products company, Buttoned Up Inc. scored shelf space at Target, Rockmore began doing research to keep the big red bull’s-eye happy. A friend invited her to join social networking site Facebook, so she created an individual profile touting her business. She hit pay dirt when she found an existing group of Target customers on Facebook.

“They talk about what they like, what they hear is coming from Target,” says Rockmore, 42. “It’s like free market research.” While she won’t give specifics for competitive reasons, Rockmore says she adjusted the product line of her $1 million company based on Target’s affinity for sharp looks and guest designers. She’s optimistic that this will pay off in a big way.

Facebook came on the scene in 2004 and hit the jackpot last October when Microsoft invested $240 million in the company. Like most social networking sites, it allows users to have a profile page and to connect with other “friends” online, sharing information and interests. Although it started as a hot site for college students, market research firm ComScore reports that now more than half of its 53 million users are over age 25.

“If you have a passion to share, it’s a no-brainer to be there,” says social media consultant Paul Gillin, author of The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media. Gillin says the downside of Facebook is that it’s still difficult to apply branding to the profile pages, especially when compared with the flashing logo-wallpapered MySpace. But Facebook’s growth and audience make it a more attractive option for many businesses.

This is not lost on Facebook, which has added some handy business-oriented features, including a survey function that lets businesses get feedback on trends and ideas. The site also recently launched Facebook Ads, which lets businesses build pages on Facebook, spread brand messages virally and gather insights into the activities of Facebook users. Some have even built relevant tools for Facebook users through an application platform–for instance, an online movie retailer has a tool that allows Facebook friends to compare their favorite flicks.

As in most online venues, don’t be too promotional, Gillin says. Do be as exhaustive as you can on your profile page, though. Include information and form groups related to your business. A photographer might start a group to discuss photo tips, for example. Include links to landing pages on a website built especially for your Facebook group so that you can target offers more effectively. Most important, he says, contribute to conversations in a meaningful way. You’ll soon find yourself flooded with Facebook friends.

Gwen Moran is co-author ofThe Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Plans. Reach her at gwen@gwenmoran.com.

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Second Life – a not so new idea

After watching the video that was posted, a few thoughts spring to mind. One being that while in one sense the development of a site like second life is a little scary, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch. Even before the age of Web 2.0 and video games, people have enjoyed the idea of being someone else or having a life different from the one you actually have as a form of entertainment. The game of Life anyone? While I know that Second Life is a far cry from the board game, it draws on the same desire. Games like Counterstrike, World of Warcraft, the various versions of Sims, and other interactive games allow us to be people other than who we really are and lead a different life in an alternate reality. As someone else said earlier, these games allow you to be the god of your own universe. While the frameworks of these games do allow for consequences, they come with luxuries like multiple lives and the all powerful restart option. The danger of things like Second Life arises when they become addictive, which they often do, to the point that they cause the user to withdraw from their real life and become more focused on the advancement of their alternate persona than their actual one.

From an entrepreneurial perspective, Second Life is genius. It allows for product testing and marketing strategies to be developed and tested on real people before putting large amounts of real money into a campaign or idea. In my very limited understanding of the site, it appears as though it can be used as a playground for the development and testing of new ideas, which seems like a cool idea to me. However, I would be worried if a company ever became profitable by dealing solely in the Second Life world.

Having never actually used the site, it’s hard to form concrete opinions one way or another on the issue but it seems to me that if people used if for the capabilities in terms of development that you don’t have in real life doesn’t sound so bad. However, the fact is that I’m sure some users are not using it to supplement their actual lives and businesses but to replace them. For example, spending so much time walking around meeting other “avatars” that you never leave your computer to meet with real people or abandoning efforts to market to real people to focus on “avatars”.

In conclusion, I think that some of the possibilities that the site offers are kind of cool, but as with all technology, it can become dangerous if allowed to consume too much of our real lives.

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